George Wendt (“Norm” on NBC’s Cheers) created many memorable moments with his classic delivery of one-liners every time he entered the Boston bar for over 10 years. Same Norm. Same spot at the bar. Same stool. It made his career. Of course, he did other things well, too. But it was his moment to shine every episode.
“Do the ‘little’ things well” ain’t just a secret to a rewarding life… the choice to do so can make you shine in the big stage moments as well.
Good thing Sporting Kansas City’s 18-year-old Gianluca Busio gets it.
Busio’s goal in the 45th minute gave home side Sporting Kansas City the lead going into halftime Friday night at Children’s Mercy Park. After the match ended in a 1-1 draw, Peter Vermes, Sporting’s manager, labeled the goal “world class.”
There were some things “big” and some things subtle that saw the ball ripple the net.
First, Busio’s initial pressure of Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, then left winger Daniel Salloi pressuring back Antonio Carlos is a big thing ingrained by Vermes. Busio forces Gallese to decide (more on that later) and Salloi picks up the mess of a touch from Carlos, who apparently was shocked to see Salloi there (Touch and communication are two big things!).
Then, what Busio did not do is the first “little” thing.
At the point pictured above, Busio taking a few steps back and making a near-post run would have been perfectly acceptable. However, those steps would have played into the coming defender’s instinct (as well as the ‘keeper protecting the near post) and would have forced Busio to shoot across his body with his left. Now roll it forward...
Instead, Busio’s awareness to betray the defender(s) and find space is a “little” instinct great players have that make a massive difference. Just as important are his feet. They are nearly square at this point. That foundation squares up his shoulders, and allows his eyes to see... and eventually deceive. Busio opening his body is the result of years of good coaching and years of Busio listening.
Let’s see the finish, again...
Busio fully squares up after his touch, which enables him to execute that devilish look and feint to the right side for a possibly never-intended-far-post curl, then hits a powerful drive inside the near post. The open body creates the options of far post or near post that Fox Sports color commentator Stuart Holden mentions. (Ironically, Gallese opened his body when he initially received the back pass, he just chose the wrong option.) Lastly, any less steam on that shot and Busio may not be celebrating in the corner with his teammates. But he knows that too.
The little things... dang. I need to focus on them too... Life is a pretty big stage and if the little things are not right, what can be? Right, Norm?
Quick quips: Full credit to Salloi for finding Busio with a good enough pass.
And, ummm, Holden, the Scottish-born, former Houston Dynamo, Bolton Wanderers, and US National team starlet, is the best color commentator on U.S.-based soccer broadcasts imho.