One of the criticisms that I hear from non-soccer fans is that the game is slow, that there is little excitement. True, the game can be slow and negative sometimes, but when that is happening, don't blink because you might miss something brilliant--the counter-attack goal. The ball can go from one end of the field to the other in ten seconds and a goal result. There are few things as exciting in soccer than a brilliant counter attack goal, and few things as quick. The Brazilian national team is perhaps the absolute best at it, with the joke being that only against Brazil can they consider a defensive corner kick to be a potential goal scoring opportunity.
But done right, the counterattack goal can be an absolute thing of beauty. Although there have been many counters this year, the following two are gems of the counterattack goal:
Here is the Manchester United-Arsenel Champions League Semi-final in which Cristiano Ronaldo put on a show at the Emirates Stadium with two goals and an assist. The third goal in the clip is a brilliant counter attack, started and finished by Ronaldo.
Wath the bottom of the screen as Ronaldo puts on the burners and sprints some 80 yards to get on the end of Wayne Rooney's pass to score on a one-timer. Three players, seven touches, about 80 yards, and just about nine seconds to score. That is how long that took.
But, as a national team fan, this one has to be my favorite:
This one is similar to the Ronaldo goal but goes a little further in distance, the ball going about 100 yards, from Ricardo Clark, to Landon Donovan to Charlies Davies back to Donovan. Five touches, 9.5 seconds from Clark to the back of the net and three one touch passes to get it done.
It is the potential for a counter attack goal, which may come at any time, that makes soccer fantastic to watch, that makes it the beautiful game. In American football, the game comes in bursts of 8, 9 seconds, you would think the Americans would understand and embrace the possibility in soccer. So don't close your eyes to the speed of the game--it will surprise you.