Against RSL, Jaqua had a great night, notching two assists. The first goal was pretty much all Jaqua, while he set up the second goal in a big way. He clearly demonstrated yesterday why he is in the starting eleven while healthy. Though he deserves criticism for underperforming so far, Sigi has faith in him and so do I.
This first goal has Jaqua stamped all over it. What are TFs supposed to do? Well, one of many things is winning headers in the box. Here, Jaqua fights through his defender and gets his head on the ball. He heads it down at Montero's feet, and it deflects off his shin right to Ianni who easily taps it in. Had Montero not been there, it might have been a save, bounced to the top corner, or gone over the bar. But Montero was there. These guys are paid for results, not style points. Funny things can happen when you put the ball on frame, and here Jaqua earned a well-deserved assist.
It's not quite as obvious just what Jaqua contributes to this goal, but I'd argue he was just as important here as Wahl was. It would be a shame if they don't credit him with a secondary assist. The sequence starts with Wahl doing an excellent job of turning Wingert. Jaqua is ready and waiting for the outlet pass. It is a bit behind him, but he uses those long legs to trap it, he holds off his defender, and calmly passes it back to Wahl as three defenders converge on him. Wahl one-times a perfectly weighted ball over to Neagle, who superbly traps it and lets it fly. It really was a magical shot. Rimando had no chance.
The question is, just how did Neagle get that much space to shoot? This being his most extended action in MLS so far, it's not surprising that RSL probably did not have much respect for his shot. Having lost Olave to the red also hurt. But if you watch closely, you can see that Jaqua drew FOUR defenders when he had the ball. Go ahead and rewatch, I'll be here. Wingert and Beltran were there applying pressure. Beckerman also came outside to help. That alone demonstrates respect for Jaqua. Yet Borchers, who had an eye on Neagle, was mostly concerned about Jaqua making a run and did not push forward to cover Neagle in time.
A TF for Sigi needs to be dominant and physical in the box and needs to clear space for the playmakers. Jaqua did both of those last night, leading to the two goals that "penetrated the fortress," so to speak. Here's to hoping he continues to earn his keep.