One instantaneous moment.
That's all the time Orlando City rookie Duncan McGuire had to react to a ball careening off the crossbar late in Saturday night's match in St. Paul. Iván Angulo had just seen his chipped shot dink off the crossbar. All of the Minnesota United defenders saw it too.
McGuire, just as he did in college all of last year, was the first to react. Right place, right time, goal scored.
“I just had to get myself in a good position to where I thought a bounce could be and it luckily came right to my head, and I tucked it away which was nice,” he said after the match.
It's the second goal McGuire has scored in MLS this season, his first coming in a similar fashion against DC United. Having a knack for where to be has been something that has been a transitory talent that has followed the striker from his 23-goal season with Creighton last year.
“I'd say it's a natural transition based off of positioning," he said. "In the final third, you know you're always going to find goals in the same spots at those levels, but the transition, speed of play and tactics is definitely something that I'm still learning. My team has been very helpful and has helped me with my transition from college to the professional level and I feel like I've been progressing nicely.
"I'm still learning and still have a lot to learn, but it's going well so far.”
Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja has seen that growth in his young forward every day at training. It's one of the reasons he was chosen as the substitute in the 75th minute of Saturday night's match.
"Duncan has a very natural characteristic. He wants to fight for every single ball," Pareja said of his striker, "We appreciate those characters and the willingness of the place to do it. He understands his weaknesses and he's trying very hard by training on correcting and improving, but his heart is always there and we'd really appreciate it."
After his breakout season in college that saw him win the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy, given to college soccer's top player, the pressure to perform was there after he was chosen sixth overall in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft.
With two clutch goals under his belt in just a handful of games, McGuire is poised to continue making a name for himself at the professional level with the Lions.