His three first half goals against the Phoenix Rising were absolutely top class. Because of his standout performance Rubio Rubin was voted as the USL Championship player of the week. You cannot argue his selection as all three goals were of the highest quality. His individual attacking ability was showcased as he repeatedly tore through the Rising defense.
A Little Background on Rubio
In case you weren’t aware Rubin was voted Young Male Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2012 and has seven Senior National Team caps to his name. The Oregon native has played professionally in Europe and Mexico. As a teenager he played numerous times for the U.S. Youth National Teams. His addition to the Loyal has coincided with the team’s recent surge in offensive output.
His first goal was a deadly finish from inside the box. It was lethal in the velocity and the accuracy of the strike. He took a great position inside the box as the ball was played from the left hand side to Jack Metcalf who quickly found Rubin with a one touch pass. Rubin quickly received the ball and made no doubt about the finish with a confident strike inside the far post for his first goal of the night.
Goal number two was even better than the first. In this solo effort he manufactured his own opportunity to finish. Getting possession in the middle of the attacking half of the field but still outside shooting range he quickly drove right at the heart of the Phoenix defense. The speed of his movement was so decisive that the defenders were put on their heels. Rubin took full advantage of that and deceptively created his own space to fire a perfectly placed shot low to the goalkeepers right. The Rising didn’t know what hit them.
Rubin was obviously in the mood at this point because the next audacious piece of play was arguably his best. Full of confidence Rubin collected the ball on the right hand side of the attacking third and immediately went right at two Phoenix defenders. His skill to split the two was simply top notch. And there was more. He then cut past a third defender to put the ball on his left foot and inside the Rising box. From here he was free to have an effort at goal. Yes, the shot took a favorable bounce. But, luck is on the side of those prepared to take advantage of an opportunity and Rubin did just that.
It is rare to score a hatrick and much more rare to do it in a single half. His flurry of goals in that short space was enough to see the Loyal claim a massive victory and keep their momentum in the playoff push. They improved to five games unbeaten and three wins in a row. But, as we know in sports there is always the next game. And the match tomorrow against the LA Galaxy II is now the most important game for the Loyal. A loss could spell the end of their playoff hopes. Eyes will be on Rubin to see what follow up performance he can produce.