Most of Quincy Amarikwa’s MLS appearances have come off the bench. It’s given him the opportunity to see the way games develop and hopefully take advantage late in games.
So when he came flying through to finish off Austin Berry’s flick-on header of Jalil Anibaba’s long throw to earn a late point at Real Salt Lake Saturday, it was all part of the plan.
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“When I was on the sideline I saw we were going to get good opportunities on the long throw,” he said. “I figured if I got the opportunity to get in the game I would take advantage of that situation.”
“When we’re in the box, I told him to swing around and I thought the way he approached the ball put his defender in a bad position. I figured he’s probably going to flick it near post. That’s where I went -- it fell just right and I put it away.”
The goal is the Fire’s third off a long throw from Anibaba this season and marks the second time the set play has earned the team points following Jeff Larentowicz’s game-winning header last month vs. Columbus.
It also couldn’t have come at a better time for the Fire who were facing their eighth loss of the season and fourth in succession after Alvaro Saborio’s 78th minute header.
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As for Amarikwa, his career has been predicated upon making something late in games as seven of his nine combined MLS goals and assists have come when he’s entered a game off the bench.
It’s how he earned his contract with the Fire after drawing a late penalty in a 1-0 preseason win over San Jose.
“That’s the name of the business,” he said in February. “You have to be ready to play whenever you’re called upon. I feel that’s something I’m very good at – traveling and having to perform and show yourself.”
Amarikwa hopes earning the point at Rio Tinto Stadium (where RSL is 45-9-18 all-time) helps propel the team towards more positive results as they enter U.S. Open Cup play on Tuesday and welcome D.C. United to Toyota Park next Sunday.
“Coming away with a point is definitely something that we as a team needed. Hopefully we can take what we’ve done here and get the same if not better in the upcoming games.”