Ciman Clearance Against Dallas 5/5/18 IMG

There’s something about a goal line clearance.

For those couple of seconds, the entire stadium collectively clutches to its breath, watching as the goalkeeper finds himself in limbo.

His goal left agape. He can only watch as the ball continues on its collision course with the back of the net.

Then, in the nick of time, a reprieve.

“You want to celebrate like you scored a goal, but you know that it’s not the same,” said Steven Beitashour of the thrill from a successful goal line clearance. “I don’t think people appreciate it as much as a goal. But I think there should be more appreciation because in that sense it’s taking a goal away from them. So it’s just as good as scoring a goal for yourself.”

In LAFC’s first two matches at Banc of California Stadium, the Club has enjoyed the reward of a goal-line clearance on three separate occasions. Each one a reel-worthy highlight in their own right. Not that the Black & Gold want to make a habit of the occurrence.

“There’s some pride there for sure. Our goal every game is not to let them score, get our shutouts,” said Walker Zimmerman. “So, when you make a save off the line, there is definitely a little bit of pride.”

In the first-ever match at Banc of California Stadium, Zimmerman instinctively retreated to the goal line as Tyler Miller attempted to gather ahead of Seattle forward Will Bruin. When the LAFC goalkeeper was unable to secure the ball, Zimmerman preserved the 0-0 score line with a block in front of the open net in the 88th minute.

LAFC would go on to score just five minutes later, winning the match 1-0.

“I think because we’ve trained it so much over the years and it’s in your DNA as a defender, it’s almost habitual,” Zimmerman said of goal line clearances. “But at the same time, it just reminds you that you can’t turn off for a second because if you are a little late, you aren’t there in time.”

Captain Laurent Ciman, who had his own breathtaking clearance preserving a 1-0 scorline in the 18th minute against FC Dallas, agreed the art of the goal line clearance is all about focus.

“Every time Walker goes, I cover. If I go, Walker covers,” Ciman said. “It’s always like this. All game, for me it’s important that one central defender take the ball, take the man, and one central defender covers.”

But what about the goalkeeper that can only peer behind him, hoping his defenders have his back? For Miller, it’s all about picking up your teammate.

“Every time I get beat and I look behind me, I pause for a second, but then I see Walker or Beita there, or Laurent, it’s always nice to look back and see your defenders on the line being ready to sacrifice it all,” Miller said of seeing his defenders arrive at the opportune moment. "For me, we have a special connection, everybody on the defense. I think it should be celebrated every time we are able to keep a clean sheet because it’s a very important aspect about our team."

And if his teammates can keep putting in that kind of effort going forward, Miller says he'll have their backs too.

“Whenever we do keep a shutout from now on, I’ll have a little special reward for all the defenders.”

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