I truly love own goals. If soccer is art (and it is, unless you’re one of those slave-to-the-heatmap types), own goals are abstract pieces – the free form expression of accidental genius through which players reveal so much of themselves and their inner turmoil.
The newest performer on the underground own-goal scene is Michael Duran, a defender for Costa Rican club Guanacasteca. His work this weekend against Puntarenas was beautiful in it’s primal and raw emotion. It tells a story of guilt, of dependency, and regret.
Guanacasteca found themselves in a fortunate position as a perfect cross to a wide open Puntarenas attacker resulted in a shot that somehow managed to clang off the crossbar from point-blank range. Consumed with subconscious guilt, Duran was compelled to surrender that goal.
Surrounded by nothing but the warmth of his own teammates, Duran couldn’t help but feel that his side didn’t deserve a clean sheet. They had to be punished for leaving a man unmarked. The soccer gods saw fit to call on the crossbar to defend Guanacasteca, but deep in his heart, Duran knew that this would be an unjust outcome.
Was he fully conscious when he headed the ball into his own goal? His reaction makes it seems like he blacked out, unable to regain control of his body until his soul was at peace, satisfied that the cosmic scales had been restored to balance.