Schilawski's first goal (and second, third) a dream come true
New England rookie Zack Schilawski dreamed about his first
professional goal from the moment he walked across the podium after hearing his
name called in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.
“I've been thinking about the first one for a long time now,
ever since I found out I was going to have a team to play on,” Schilawski told
MLSsoccer after New England's 4-1 win over Toronto FC on Saturday night. “As a
striker, you want to score goals.”
The moment finally arrived when Schilawski collected his
first MLS goal two minutes after halftime and wheeled off to celebrate. After
play resumed, he quickly discovered the initial tally wasn't enough to quell
his appetite for more goals.
Schilawski's second and third MLS goals followed in short
order to make him the only player in MLS history to score three times on his
home debut. Schilawski also joined former Columbus midfielder Brian Maisonneuve
and former New England (and current Seattle) forward Pat Noonan as the only
rookies to grab a hat trick in their first MLS season.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the rare feat is how
Schilawski accomplished it. The Wake Forest product found space inside the
penalty area and timed his runs to perfection in order to slide home two
relatively simple chances from close range for his first and third strikes.
Those types of goals are generally the dominion of more
experienced players who can anticipate when and where the cross will arrive,
but Schilawski credited the service from Sainey Nyassi (on his first goal) and
Kheli Dube (on his third) for setting up chances he couldn't spurn.
“Those were two great balls in terms of weight and
placement, so it was easy for me,” Schilawski said.
Finding the right spot isn't the only way Schilawski flashed
traits usually found in a more experienced striker. Revolution coach Steve
Nicol praised Schilawski's second goal -- fueled by an opportunistic decision to
pressure TFC central defender Nick Garcia in his defensive third and sparked by
Garcia's ensuing turnover -- because he took his breakaway calmly when others
may have spurned the gilt-edged opportunity by acting hastily.
“When you're a forward, if you get chances, you have to
finish them,” Dube said. “Today, Zack did it. It's a good way for him to get
the first goals of his career.”
As he glanced at the match ball from his first professional
hat trick, Schilawski pondered the route to more goals as his rookie season
progresses. After leading the Revolution in goals during the preseason and
securing his first three strikes in MLS play, Schilawski said he believes that
he can transform into a consistent goal scorer at the MLS level.
“I'm confident,” Schilawski said. “I know I can score goals.
The difference is proving it to everyone else and having everyone else have
confidence that you can do it against a MLS team, not a USL team or in an