Coach Little speaks often about being ruthless. He wants Tacoma Defiance to impose their will on the opposition. Jesse Daley took that to heart. The midfielder came up with the concept to crash through Reno 1868 FC. Justin Dhillon headed the goal in at 9.17 seconds. The goal won Goal of the Week by a vote of 38% to 24%.
This is the fastest oral history for the fastest goal in USL history.
Justin Dhillon: I remember that Jesse in the team talk said ‘alright, from kickoff we’re going to go forward. Justin make your first run forward. Azriel get forward.’
Dhillon and Daley were in the center circle. Off to their left is Azriel Gonzalez. Shandon Hopeau started on the right.
Jesse Daley: We were standing at the kickoff spot and Justin told me he was going to overlap me. I said ‘no don’t. Go to my left’ and obviously we told Azriel to be ready as well. You don’t know how it is going to happen, but you hope you can get a goal.
The Australian took charge, clarified the plan.
Dhillon: Jess was just like ‘when I get the ball I’m going to drive forward.’ He told me, Azriel, and Shandon that he wanted to put the pressure on them right from the start.
The passing sequence started up the middle. Dhillon then swung it out to Gonzalez. Shandon Hopeau off running towards the far post. With Justin crashing the net, Azriel slung in the perfect pass.
Daley: It was just kind of instinct to catch the other team off guard and run at them, play through them quickly.
Dhillon: It wound up in the back of the net.
It was under 10 seconds. The fastest goal in USL history at 9.17 seconds.
Jesse didn’t join the celebration. He’s more of a holding midfielder, so he didn’t get forward. He also knew that a goal so early would create new challenges for Tacoma Defiance.
Daley: I didn’t celebrate. I knew how early it was and we’d have a long ninety minutes. Reno are obviously a good side. I knew there was a lot of hard work for us.
The match ended in a 1-1 draw. The memory for those on the pitch will last longer than the result, and certainly longer than 9.17 seconds. The goal is certainly deserving to win Goal of the Week.
Daley: I think Justin has worked really hard for us, and that’s not just the two goals he’s scored. I think his presence up front – he can hold the ball up, he can run in behind. Now he’s scoring goals, so if he can get recognized and earn the Goal of the Week, that would be good for him.
Defiance host Fresno FC on Sunday. The action might just start before the starting whistle’s finish.