How often in a Stellar Strikes article can we talk about a defender, let alone, a center back?!?
Well, Mitchell Taintor is a towering presence on the back line but when the defender pushes forward, he can deliver a blistering shot better than some strikers in the league.
When the Indomitable Club signed Taintor on December 16 to bring the CB back for what will be his third season in Sacramento - having previously spent the 2018 and 2019 campaigns with Republic FC - the squad instantly knew it was gaining a player with all-around qualities that can be utilized on every inch of the pitch.
But before Mitch returns to the boys in Old Glory Red after a season with San Antonio FC, it’s time to take a look back at some of many ways Taintor has dazzled with his goalscoring versatility.
Taintor appeared for Major League Soccer-side Toronto FC and when called into action against Houston Dynamo in 2018, the CB soared above the opposing defense and headed home a powerful effort. The goal came in his MLS debut – a 5-1 win over the club from the Lone Star State. Taintor has one goal in one career MLS appearance where he started and played the full 90 minutes for the 2017 MLS Cup Champions.
The defender made this set-piece strike look effortless after connecting with a dead ball freekick after his teammate whipped in a cross that met Taintor’s boot just feet from goal. With his tremendous touch, he delicately steered his shot by the visiting goalkeeper for a sensational first half equalizer.
When Taintor stepped up to the penalty spot, his cool delivery looked as though it was from the foot of an experienced forward. But the sturdy CB calmly slammed a right-footed shot into the bottom corner. His strike was low, hard and true – an improbably shot to save by the opposing GK, nestled perfectly into the corner of the net.
It was honored with the USL Championship Fans’ Choice Goal of the Week and the No. 8 spot on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top Ten on May 12, 2019 when Taintor’s blazing effort soared into goal from well over 30 yards away. The wondergoal gave SRFC a 1-0 lead over Reno 1868 FC who went on to win the match but Taintor’s sizzling strike is what will be remembered in the minds of Republic FC supporters forever.
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