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Croizet’s goal a game winner, but it meant a lot more

A special goal for Croizet

Thad Bell

Yohan Croizet’s first goal for Sporting Kansas City came on April 20th in what turned out to be an eventful match against Vancouver. Two Whitecaps red cards, an unforgettable Johnny Russell hat trick and a finale goal from Croizet — his first, and very long awaited one on the season. A well-timed run by the Frenchman and a perfectly placed a ball from Ilie Sanchez made for a pretty, but not game changing sixth point. Croizet celebrated anyway of course, combining several celebratory moves into one. He ran, jumped and pointed at the sky as team mates ran together to join in Croizet’s moment. In the overall game it meant little, for Croizet it meant confidence and relief.

With the first out of the way, his next goal came in U.S. Open Cup play on June 16th. Unlike the first, this one held immense importance, and, as a nice touch, was an absolute spectacle to see. Sporting KC was level with FC Dallas at home when Croizet came on in the 85th minute. The clock was quickly ticking down, and it looked as though the game would go into extra time, but, just four minutes after Croizet’s sub in, Khiry Shelton was driving into the box when the Dallas defense tried to clear the ball. Shelton’s pressure caused an unruly bounce up and Croizet, timing it perfectly, struck the ball on the volley and watched as it curled into the upper 90 for a golazo and the win. A leap, a run, a slide and the team mobbed him yet again. The game was over and Sporting KC would live to see another U.S. Open Cup game.

Croizet’s next goal also came in the Open Cup, this time, with little importance or fanfare compared to his most previous strike. Down 4-1, a lackluster Sporting KC side was at a point of doom when Croziet received the ball from Russell. A late tackle from a Dynamo defender and the ball bounced oddly into the air, looping over the keeper to cut the deficit by one. However, at the 90+3 minute the goal offered little hope for the visiting Sporting KC team, thus no celebration was called for and Croizet jogged back to the center circle with the rest of the team.

His most recent goal was, yet again, very important and timely — demonstrating that he can be a difference maker for the team. A half time sub in for Felipe Gutierrez in Sporting’s third regular season meeting with Minnesota United, Croizet made an immediate impact with what was the game winner in the 47th minute. Not a big running, jumping celebration this time, rather a couple steps and Croziet dropped to his knees, did what looked like the sign of the cross and pointed to the sky before his teammates were able to catch up to him for a team celebration.

After the game, Croizet pointed out that the goal helps build his confidence, “Today I played 45 minutes and scored, that is good for my confidence. I hope I score more goals for this team because I like to play here, I want to stay here until my contract is finished. Tonight was a good night for me and for my team and for the fans.”

But gaining confidence isn’t what made this goal, in particular, memorable for Croizet. This goal, held much deeper meaning and was incredibly personal for the central midfielder.

“It is a good feeling, but today was a special day because my mom died three years ago,” he said. “That is why I can not explain my happiness. I am happy, but that was for my mom. Every time I score it is for my mom, but today was a special day, that is why my happiness is soft.”

Now, as the team enters the last leg of the season, Croizet will hope to continue making an impact scoring more goals — for this team, himself and his mother.