Anatomy of a Goal: Christian Ramirez scores his first Crew goal and sets off the rout

Welcome to the Anatomy of a Goal, where each week we dissect one goal (or near goal) from a previous Columbus Crew match. For match five of the 2023 MLS season, we take a look at Christian Ramirez’s 47th minute goal, his first for the Crew, that gave the home side a 2-0 lead as part of their 6-1 rout of Atlanta United.

Here is a look at the goal from Ramirez.

Columbus returned to Field for the second home match of the year on the back of a disappointing and disheartening loss away to the New York Red Bulls. Both the Black & Gold and Atlanta were faced with depleted rosters due to the international break—the Crew without Lucas Zelarayan, Milos Degenek, Eloy Room, and the injured Cucho Hernandez while the Five Stripes were without Miles Robinson, Thiago Almada, Ronald Hernandez, Giorgos Giakoumakis, Machop Chol, Luis Abram, and Derrick Etienne. Atlanta United were without more players total in reality both teams were missing four key starters.

Columbus deployed a very young starting lineup featuring four former Crew 2 players as well as the debut of offseason signing Ramirez. Nonetheless, the Black & Gold put together a strong first half, featuring Aidan Morris’s first goal for the Crew, and took a surprising lead into halftime.

Ramirez’s goal begins with Atlanta in possession in their defensive half. Loanee Gustavo Vallecilla picked up a yellow card on a foul seconds before and the Five Stripes have dropped the ball back during the resulting possession.

Center-back Noah Cobb surveys the field and plays a quick pass forward to Franco Ibarra.

Ibarra is pressured by Morris and drops the ball right back to Cobb.

Ramirez and Jacen Russell-Rowe maintain their defensive positioning without pressing allowing Cobb to play a quick pass up the sideline to Santiago Sosa

Sosa turns and is under immediate pressure from Russell-Rowe.

Sosa avoids taking on Russell-Rowe and hits a pass forward toward Luiz Araujo.

Araujo miss-times his receipt of the pass and allows the ball to roll right to Vallecilla.

Vallecilla quickly redirects the ball right to Morris.

Morris picks up the ball in the middle of the field and immediately has five options: 1. a drop pass back to Vallecilla; 2. a quick touch pass to Nagbe; 3. a difficult diagonal ball forward to Russell-Rowe; 4. turn and carry the ball forward; or, 5. a pass forward toward Alexandru Matan.

Morris touches the ball toward Nagbe who lifts up his head and sees Matan standing ahead of him totally unmarked.

Nagbe receives the ball and quickly moves possession forward to Matan.

Matan deftly turns the ball forward and sets off on the counter-attack. Ahead, Ramirez shifts his run across the face of Cobb while Russell-Rowe runs, unmarked, up the left flank.

The young Romanian takes a few touches forward and surveys his four options: 1. carry the ball forward; 2. a through pass toward Ramirez; 3. a pass over the top toward Russell-Rowe; or, 4. a square pass to Nagbe.

Matan continues the attack forward with a long, looping pass out in front of Russell-Rowe.

Russell-Rowe takes a touch toward the goal-line while the attack materializes. Mohamed Farsi makes a back-post run, Matan makes a trailing run toward the top of the 18 yard box, Ramirez occupies the penalty spot, and Will Sands makes a trailing run up the left flank.

Before making his next touch, Russell-Rowe analyzes his four options: 1. continue to carry the ball toward the goal; 2. a direct pass into Ramirez; 3. a pass into the path of Matan at the top of the 18; or, 4. a lay-off pass back to Sands.

The young striker picks out Ramirez and whips a low pass right to the feet of his teammate.

Cobb lunges for the ball but is about a yard away from deflecting the pass.

Ramirez tees up the pass and prepares to take a first-touch shot on goal.

Ramirez easily beats Juan Jose Purata to the ball and fires in a first touch shot on Brad Guzan’s goal.

Guzan dives to his right but is too late as the ball soars past him . . .

. . . into the back of the net!


  1. The Black & Gold did something in this goal that it felt like they almost never did in the Caleb Porter era: punish an opponent turnover. From the time Sosa’s pass rolls past Araujo to the time Ramirez’s shot finds the back of the net, there are five passes featuring 11 total touches. The Crew quickly attacked the goal as a cohesive unit rather than waiting on the play to develop.
  2. Nagbe’s quick reactive pass to Matan combine with Matan’s inch-perfect long ball to Russell-Rowe to move the ball from the Columbus half to the Atlanta goal box.
  3. Russell-Rowe hits his own perfect pass to Ramirez, putting a low ball right to the feet of the striker who was able to fire a shot without hesitating.
  4. Ramirez makes his Crew debut with two goals. Hard to top that.

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