Why Didn’t Matt Besler Slide or Dive to Block Shot?

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It was a World Cup qualifier. A crucial almost must win game. The United States versus Honduras. Gonzalez got beat and Besler could have bailed him out.

In soccer, when you’re defending, you rarely if ever when to dive or slide to block a shot. It’s a last second type of goal saving thing you do. But against Honduras, that is exactly what Matt Besler should have done. Sure, Omar Gonzalez made a mistake, he could have cleared the ball out of bounds rather than seeming to try to win the ball from Quioto.

But as the second central defender, you’re supposed to bail out your partner. Instead, Besler stutter stepped, as though he didn’t want to get beat, when he should have gone all out and thrown his body towards the ball to block it. It just seemed like one of those times to take that risk. If he was beat by another move or cut by Quioto, it’s likely that his teammates around him would have then had time to recover and help out. Was Besler worried about getting a penalty kick called..? Why Didn’t Matt Besler Slide or Dive to Block Shot?

Here’s a better video of the entire play. But I’d be curious what other defenders and coaches have to say about the play and whether or not Besler should have sold out and try to block the shot. There was certainly no need for him to slow down and stutter step as though he didn’t want to get beat – Quioto was too close to the goal and about to shoot.

In the end though, Besler helped keep the ball alive for the United States to score and tie the game up. So he deserves a lot of credit for that.

And yes, it was a tough play to try to read that quickly, but there are times want you need to make that game saving sliding tackle.

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