In his seven years as a pro, Bakary Soumare has scored three goals.
Not exactly a staggering yield. Then again, that’s not the modus operandi of a center back.
But when that perfect moment of boot meeting ball and ball meeting net happens, as it did in Saturday’s opening match of the second FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup tripleheader, Soumare makes the wait worth it.
The 28-year-old Mali national scored on a brilliant volley in the Chicago Fire’s 2-0 win over FC Tucson before 1,424 at Kino Sports Complex North Stadium.
In Saturday’s other two matches, the Colorado Rapids defeated Real Salt Lake 1-0, then Chivas USA rallied past the New England Revolution for a 3-2 win in the nightcap.
With Chicago already ahead 1-0 on a 19th-minute header by Alex, Patrick Nyarko crossed a ball to the far post inside the box that Soumare met perfectly with his right foot about 2 feet off the ground. The ball rocketed between goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez and the near post in the 43rd minute. It was a strike that would make any forward reel around with glee.
“That was a good finish, yeah,” first-year Fire coach Frank Yallop said. “We created some very good chances in the first half.”
And the scorer’s take on the goal?
“It was a great ball. Pat looked up, and he saw me on the far post, and he served in a good ball,” Soumare said. “Luckily, I had good contact, and it went in. It’s good.”
Soumare’s only other goal for the Fire also brought its share of oohs and aahs.
Last season, he returned to the Fire in May in a trade with the Philadelphia Union.
Soumare, who had played with the Fire from 2007 to 2009 before competing in France and Germany, started 22 matches for Chicago in 2013.
He helped a team that had started with just two wins in its first 10 matches go 12-6-6 the rest of the way. Near the end of his successful return, Soumare scored in a 3-0 away win over D.C. United on Oct. 4, pouncing on a loose ball in the box.
“There were similarities,” Soumare said, comparing the goals. “That one, it was a little more crowded in the box. But this one was just ‘put the ball in.’
“Sometimes after training, we just do it for fun. But as much as it is for fun, we’re working on stuff. There’s always something you can do out there. Sometimes it pays off like this. I don’t expect to score one of those all the time.”
It doesn’t hurt to pull out those impressive, silky scoring skills when you’re battling for playing time in a backline full of competition.
“It makes you work a little bit harder,” Soumare said. “You have to watch behind you, because the next guy can step in and play. There’s going to be a lot of games. Everyone is going to get their chance. We just keep pushing each other.”
On Saturday, Soumare and his teammates were pushed further than they have been this preseason, going the full 90 minutes.
“The first 60 minutes were great,” Yallop said. “That’s why I left the guys on, to help them break through the wall and just battle through. Get more fitness.”
- In the middle match Saturday, Colorado’s
- De-shorn Brown
- scored in the 69th minute for the contest’s only goal. The match ended with a rare indirect free kick inside the box after Colorado goalkeeper
- Joe Nasco
- was called for delay of game.
- Abdoulie Mansally
- ’s ensuing free kick went into
- the wall, and the referee blew
- his whistle to end it.
- Newly acquired Revolution forward
- Teal Bunbury
- , who was picked up in a trade with Sporting KC on Wednesday, scored a goal in his New England debut. He slotted the ball past the keeper and just inside the far post after a pass from
- Diego Fagundez
- . Two second-half goals — a close-up blast by
- Carlos Alvarez
- and a scintillating free kick by
- Mauro Rosales
- — helped Chivas USA rally to win the nightcap.