Jamie Watson Already Making a Difference for the Minnesota Stars
There is no doubt that on-loan midfielder Jamie Watson is making an impact for the Minnesota Stars. Since coming to the team on September 3rd, Watson has had a hand in three of the last 5 Minnesota goals, scoring a spectacular goal himself in Tuesday night’s defeat of Puerto Rico and earning himself an assist as well.
At one point midway through the first half and with the score still just 1-0, Watson made a run and never received the obvious ball from his teammate. Afterwards he gave an earful to the Stars player and gesticulated in an exaggerated motion showing him where he wanted the ball. Watson says he’s comfortable taking that leadership role with the team and helping to direct some of the younger talent Minnesota has.
“That’s one of the things Manny asked me to do,” said Watson. “He told me there was a lot of great young talent on this team. You look at the players who made an impact tonight, Miguel (Ibarra), Nate (Polak), Reedy in the middle. I know I’m forgetting others, but there are so many good young players on this team. Part of what I need to do is show them what I’ve seen over the years. And it’s a little bit of a different role for me because with Orlando, we have a bunch of more experienced players and in a sense you coach each other. Tonight we were ahead 1-0 and we were making the decision to hold the ball instead of slipping players through and trying to get the second goal, the third goal and really kill the game off. I can show them how it needs to be done. I’m really proud of the boys, for using what was a letdown and turning it into a situation tonight where we killed the game brilliantly.”
Watson’s goal, just 30 seconds into the second half, was a highlight reel type shot, first timing the ball and curling it into the upper 90 of the far post.
“Miguel (Ibarra) set it up perfectly and it had the right amount of pace,” said Watson. “With the angle I was running at, I was able to put a little bend on it, up and over.”
While Watson’s goal may have been the highlight of the night for Stars supporters, his goal celebration wasn’t far behind. The Orlando City midfielder on loan to the Stars for the remainder of the season, said he’s been waiting for his first goal to try it out on the fans. For years Stars supporters have chanted to players who drop to the turf easily, “You Dive Like Jamie Watson” after his exploits in a 2005 USOC match that pitted his Real Salt Lake team against the Minnesota Thunder at James Griffin Stadium in St. Paul.
After his goal on Tuesday night, Watson ran over to the Dark Cloud supporters, waited for about a half-dozen of his teammates to join him, then they all did a sprawling belly flop dive towards the section. It received an extra round of applause from the fans.
After the match Watson admitted that while he enjoyed executing the celebration it wasn’t his idea. “That was Kevin Friedland’s,” Watson said. It didn’t matter who came up with it as both players were all smiles after Tuesday night’s win and so were Minnesota Stars fans.