OBETZ, Ohio – A Columbus Crew goalkeeper allows a unique goal against New York that soon makes its way to YouTube and is quickly transmitted around the soccer world.
We’re talking about the “olimpico” by Thierry Henry against Matt Lampson on Saturday, right?
Well, yes. But the first such instance was actually nearly four years ago when the Crew’s Andy Gruenebaum was victimized by his New York counterpart, Danny Cepero, on the first goal by an MLS ‘keeper in history.
“I can empathize with him,” Gruenebaum said of his understudy Lampson, “because I’ve had something probably more embarrassing happen to me against New York in New York.”
Cepero’s goal was a result of an 80-yard free kick that bounced high on the Giants Stadium turf at the top of the penalty area and over the head of a stunned Gruenebaum on Oct. 18, 2008.
Gruenebaum was indirectly involved again Saturday in Red Bull Arena. He had to leave in the 79th minute when he dove into the left goal post trying to stop a header by Dax McCarty.
Enter Lampson for the rookie’s third MLS appearance.
With Columbus trailing 2-1 in the third minute of stoppage time, Henry sent a left corner kick off the right post and in for the insurance goal.
“I took a step forward because I thought, and so did everybody else, that he was going to kill the game out and hold it in the corner,” Lampson told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “Even if I don’t take that step forward, he hit that ball pretty much as perfect as you can hit it.”
Lampson reviewed the play numerous times and came to the conclusion there wasn’t much he could do to stop Henry.
“It was a freak thing,” he said. “He’s one of the best players in the world, definitely one of the best in MLS. If he tries to do that again a thousand times, I doubt he’ll be able to hit it that perfectly.”
Gruenebaum said Lampson’s demeanor will help him shake off the goal.
“He’ll mope around until I give him a hug and then everything will be fine,” he joked.
Still, Lampson knows he’s became part of Henry’s legacy as he told the Frenchman after the match.
“I said, ‘Why did you have to make me look like an idiot?’” Lampson said. “Essentially that’s what the fan base and all the soccer critics will say now: ‘What the hell is this goalkeeper doing?’
“I told him, ‘I’m in there five minutes and you do that to me?’ He said, ‘I saw you take a step to the near post, so I had to try it.’”