Blame Game: Rafa and Bouna

Houston's game-tying goal came from the foot of Cam Weaver in the 50th minute after Tally Hall's goal kick was flicked forward by Will Bruin. It appeared that Rafa Marquez was in a position to intercept the ball but Weaver cut in front of him and chipped the ball past Bouna Coundoul, who was well out of his net. Immediately after the goal Rafa looked down at Bouna and clearly said something to the keeper. When I saw the play unfolding I was wondering why Bouna was so far off his line and if there was miscommunication on the play, apparently there was:

"I yelled to him [to] pass me back the ball," Coundoul said.

Márquez, however, disagreed.

"I didn’t hear any shouts or screams by anyone to call out for the ball," Márquez said, shrugging. 

Two things trouble me about this confusion.

The first being where Bouna was on the play; if he was expecting a pass he should have been much closer to his line than he was. Bouna was as far out as the penalty spot and almost within body's length from the corner of the penalty area. It is hard to see exactly where he was when he came into frame on the broadcast (49:36), but it is clear he was well off his line and in a very poor position to handle the well-executed play by the Dynamo. If Bouna is that far out and was calling for a pass from Rafa there wasn't a lot Rafa could have done to get him the ball, Weaver had the inside track on the ball and certainly has a longer stride than Rafa. Just before Weaver makes his touch on the ball and flicks it over Bouna at the edge of the penalty area, Rafa pulls up to get between Weaver and the net, he was never in a position to get the ball back to Bouna.

The other thing that troubles me about the miscommunication is the disagreement between the two afterward. Perhaps there is a language issue, perhaps it might have something to do with the fact that NYRB has played 3 keepers in 3 games this season, or more likely it was Bouna being caught out of position. You can tell a lot about what happened by the body language of Rafa afterward, he looks as though he is in disbelief of what just happened.

Whatever the reason for the miscommunication I hope for the team's sake that it gets cleared up and that the starting keeper and the Mexican international come to an understanding. Communication is a very big part of defending, especially on plays like the Dynamo's goal. I hope we don't have to see a silly miscommunication and/or Coundoul being out of position cost us two points again anytime soon.



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The opinions stated herein are wholly those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of or

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