Assyed Sanchez makes two immediate impressions; he is tenacious in the manner of a scalded pitbull and he is left-footed. One is a great talent and the other has been to him and to everyone around him a source of unrelenting conversation, concern and controversy threatening both his future prospects and the present fortunes of our FC America team.
My sentiment, borne of a solemn afternoon on the King Street playground almost three decades ago and countless exhortations since then, is that Assyed and so many players like him do themselves a disservice of the first order by failing to develop competence with both hands and/or feet in their given sport. I am, admittedly obsessed with such development, as I believe that in the heat of battle certain decisive opportunities present themselves with a singular solution to only one appendage without regard to the owner of said appendage relative confidence in said appendage. The only solution being to train and develop muscle memory and technique to seize the moment with clinical, instinctive efficiency.
In recent weeks, I have noticed incremental signs of progress in training or uncompetitive situations…..a right-footed pass or shot so ponderous in it’s execution as to leave no impression beyond it’s deliberately forced nature. When it has mattered at all, it has been the left-foot upon which he has relied exclusively and at times detrimentally.
With seconds left in our match with Southern Soccer Academy, something remarkable and potentially transformational occurred. We had from the early moments of the game played with purpose. We moved the ball on the grass and strung together three, four and sometimes six passes together. Our goal which gave us a 1-0 lead culminated a five pass sequence representing the best our game has to offer, but the game was levelled by a penalty kick and it seemed that our improvement from yesterday’s miserable draw would be confined to aesthetics.
But oh those final seconds and how the seemed to freeze in our minds…..Bryson Pink with a mildly encouraging pass to John Rivera, who carried it horizontally at the top of the box before feeding Assyed on the left wing. Having driven and dribbled left all game, he was at this mosy critical of junctures cut-off, but then the moment…..he cut the ball to his right foot into a pocket of space and without a moment of self-conscious hesitation curled a shot into the upper right corner for the win.
He ran to midfield in ecstasy pointing at his now accomplished right foot as jis team mobbed him. We are alive, in control of our own destiny tomorrow and better than we were today.