Giovani Dos Santos is probably one of the most polarizing players on Cartilage Free Captain. Some Americans can't get past the fact that he plays his international football for Mexico. Others marvel at his on-ball skill and speed and the fact that he doesn't employ the dirty flopper role that several Mexican internationals (*coughRafaMarquezcough*) have used in the past. Some don't think what he does for Mexico is all that impressive because he does it against CONCACAF sides.
Some people don't think he merits first team football for Tottenham Hotspur, Others believe he is the answer to the squad rotation and opposite winger problem we've been having all season. Some people believe he has been buried on the bench due to Harry Redknapp's perceived issues with him. Others think he's selfish in only wanting to move to Spain and torpedoing possible transfers (Udinese).
Where ever you fall on the Johnny Two Saints (and yes, I know the actual translation is "Johnny of the Saints," but come on, Johnny Two Saints!) divide, you cannot help but marvel at what he did to score in the 76th minute against the USA in the 2011 Gold Cup final. This goal was simply an outstanding display of individual on-ball skill and shot placement.
[ HD ] Gio Dos Santos -GOAL OF THE YEAR - MEXICO vs USA 2011 Gold Cup Final- [Eng/Span] (via cuauhtemoc9z)
For those who don't know, the Gold Cup is the CONCACAF continental championship that is essentially put together so that the USA and Mexico play in the final every year, and the final is always attended by about 90% Mexican fans.
Now, the goal itself:
Javier Hernanadez collects the ball down the right sideline, but is defended by Carlos Bocanegra. After some on-ball physical play, Bocanegra makes a poor clearance to the top of the 18 where Gerardo Torrado collects the ball and plays it into the box for GDS to run onto. This is where the video picks up.
Tim Howard is slow off his line and is beaten to the ball by GDS, who, instead of simply turning toward the sideline, toys with Howard, who makes two unsuccessful lunges at the ball. After managing to escape Howard, he moves to a vacated space surrounded by FOUR American defenders (Bocanegra, Clarence Goodson, Jonathan Bornstein, and Jermaine Jones). Jones runs from behind GDS towards the top of the 18 to prevent GDS from getting a better look at goal, Goodson holds position between GDS and the goal, Bocanegra stays close to GDS after Howard's unsuccessful waves at the ball, and Bornstein just stands there (a move he has done extremely well in a USA shirt for years). After Howard came out of goal, Michael Bradley dropped in behind him with Eric Lichaj to play fauxkeeper while he was out dealing with GDS.
Upon possession, GDS uses three touches with his back to goal to evade Howard, then uses two more while facing the left sideline to create space from Bocanegra. He then hits a chip that clears Jones' outstretched foot, goes over Goodson's head, curls towards the far post, and somehow finds its way into less than a square foot of space between Lichaj's head and the upper corner of the goal. Howard flips out, but then realizes that there wasn't a damn thing his defense could do in that regard, and Lichaj has a look of "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" and dejectedly bats the ball out of the back of the net, still stunned by what just happened. As Kyle Martino said, "That is such a ridiculous finish."
In total, GDS touched the ball seven times in less than 5 seconds, and at no point did the ball go more than a yard away from him. He evaded four defenders (Bradley, Howard, Jones, Bocanegra) who were within an arms length of him, and he put the ball into a space that a basketball would not have fit (between Lichaj's head and the crossbar). It was a tremendous display of individual skill that few players in the world have the potential to match. It was also at this point that I turned to my buddy on the couch, jaw agape, and shook my head in amazement, then cracked open another beer.
Personally, I would love to see GDS get some playing time for Spurs. I love watching him play. I hope that where ever he ends up, he does more than ride the pine and contemplate which hair products to use. I also hope that he never does this to the USA again, but if he does, I will be the first one to stand up and applaud.
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