Tom Bogert, CBS Local Sports
Spoiler alert straight out of the gate here: this goal occurs in Kevin Nolan’s testimonial match. A testimonial match is a friendly that includes current and former players and not much whole-hearted defending.
While we’re on this whole theme of downing a funny, cool moment, this play would’ve been called back on numerous occasions in a real game due to the NFL kickoff return mentality of his teammates, showing their best attempts at lead blocking down the field.
The goalie who embarks on this slaloming run is Adrian. Due to his ability to run the full length of the pitch and his agility, the untrained eye might recognize that he’s West Ham’s current starting keeper and not a retired player paying his respects to Kevin Nolan.
If someone were to mistime a tackle on the starting goalie for a club finding themselves in uncharted waters – close to European qualification with just a handful of matches left in the season – there’d be chaos. And the person who might theoretically injure the player, well, there’s a decent possibility he’s exiled from London. Or at least shamed for a while.
The two players who formed a human shield and accompanied Adrian on his noble quest to glory did it right. Notice some of the other players who actually think the goalie, once he passes midfield, is actually going to pass the ball. Two attackers split wide to each touchline, normally a smart decision in a real game, but clearly have been bogged down to robotic movements on the pitch. No room for romantics to them, apparently.
So commend the two men providing a pathway that any NFL running back or return man would shed a tear in appreciation for, because they understand it. The pure joy on everyone’s face when they pile on Adrian, who clearly needs an oxygen tank a la Prince Fielder when he tries to leg out a double (he is still a goalie trained to patrol an 18-yard-box and not a full pitch, after all), had better have brought a smile to anyone watching.
Poor Kevin Nolan, who had the show stolen from him on his big day.
As a fan of repetitive disappointment and frustration, Tom holds Liverpool FC, the New York Knicks and New York Red Bulls near and dear to his heart with occasional joy coming from the New York Giants and New York Yankees.