Flip the Switch: Douglas Martinez
The play: RSL’s equalizing goal in the 22nd minute was a lesson in how to respond to a pressing team that just scored an opening goal. Marcelo Silva played a ball to Corey Baird on the left wing just inside midfield. He played a first-time blind ball over the top behind the San Jose defense and Douglas Martinez turned on his defender and then it was off to the races. Martinez got to it first at the edge of the box and chipped the onrushing goalkeeper for his first RSL goal.
The reason: This game was going to be a fitness test – mental and physical. With San Jose’s man-marking all over the field, winning 1v1 duels was going to be vital. On this particular play, RSL took advantage of an aggressive San Jose back line that was looking to cut off a ball to Martinez 40 yards from goal. Instead Baird’s quick ball in behind and Martinez’s quick turn left acres of space for him to take advantage. Coming within 90 seconds of San Jose’s goal kept RSL in the match and while San Jose garnered momentum later, this was one of many positive moments for RSL’s youth in the tournament.
The stats: In 232 minutes entering the match, Martinez had shown flashes of the player that was among the USL’s leading scorers in 2019 with the Monarchs. He aptly chased down balls played into space behind the opposing defense and harangued defenders (and goalkeepers) into playing difficult passes and even earned a penalty. On Monday, he finished the night with three chances created and two shots and spent the majority of the night stretching the San Jose defense.
The quote: Freddy Juarez on Martinez’s goal - “I thought he was a big-time player for us today. I’m very proud of our guys and him and Pablo [Ruiz], our two young guys who we put in there and they played very mature and with a lot of energy and hunger to help the team out a lot. When you separate someone like Douglas, he did a lot of work, a lot of running and battling to get into dangerous areas. He’s going the right direction in his development. He gets his first goal and it almost seems like he was involved in every opportunity that was going to come up towards goal. I’m very proud of him and I know the players love him to death with how much effort he puts in for the team.”