Outside of goals, near misses or wonderful saves, if I had to identify one aspect of soccer that I absolutely love it would be this: That moment in a game when a team gains a sudden sense of urgency and confidence after a key moment happens in a match.
Those moments don’t happen in every game, but when they do, they’re simply splendid. It’s that moment when a team either regains their complete confidence and begins passing the ball around the pitch like a proud peacock, standing tall. Sometimes it happens after the team scores a goal. On the other hand, it sometimes happens when a team has just conceded a goal, and all of a sudden you’ll see the team combust into a frenetic fury with a renewed sense of effort. And it can happen just like that.
For managers, it must be infuriating. Why can’t teams always play like that? Why do so many of them start off slow and lax? Why do teams have to wait until they concede a goal, get a player sent off or score a super goal until that rush of blood to the head occurs?
It happens to all teams, but if I could think of an example where a team comes out of the gate as fast and furious as possible so they don’t have to wait for that moment to kick in, Manchester United would be it. It doesn’t happen all the time. Sometimes United will come out and play as if they’re sleeping especially this season when they’ve conceded the first goal far too often. But whether it’s conceding that first goal or a rollicking they receive from Sir Alex Ferguson at half time, the second half performances are better from United where they gain a renewed sense of energy, determination and purpose.
For me, I love that moment in games where you can almost feel the point in a game when that spark is lit. It’s palpable.
Some teams never seem to have it. They just drift aimlessly along. Queens Park Rangers is the best example of that this season. But whether it’s a match in the past, present or future, I just love it when I see that spark ignite on the football pitch. I have no word to describe it, but it’s something that I think we have all seen at one time or another.