Raves / Union

Raves: Fafà Picault, the speedster who never backs down

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Editor’s note: In Philadelphia, we’re all familiar with rants about sports. So once a year, PSP’s writers take several days to just flat out rave about players. They may not be the best players, but they’re players we like. Here’s another one in our Raves series.

Let’s go back in time, to the final game of the 2017 season. The Union were hosting Orlando City, and the game didn’t really matter. Neither team was heading to the playoffs, and C.J. Sapong had already set team and personal goal scoring records (though he would still score two more). And then the Union scored three unanswered goals in the first 30 minutes of the game.

In other words, it was time to play it cool and coast into the off-season.

But Fafà Picault isn’t the kind of guy who coasts.

So when Orlando player Scott Sutter sent a defensive header off target, the Gazelle pounced.

Look at where he starts that run: A good 10 feet behind Sutter, who is heading the ball away from him. Seb Hines, the Orlando City player the ball was (presumably) intended for started much closer, and Picault still managed to run the ball down before he got anywhere near it.

That would be enough to make this clip exciting to watch, but after Picault gets to the ball he keeps running, forcing Orlando City keeper Earl Edwards Jr. off his line and scoring a beautiful nutmeg goal.

And that’s just who Picault is. He plays as if he isn’t capable of giving any less than 100 percent.

Often, that presents itself in extraordinary bursts of speed like that goal against Orlando, embodying his personal mantra of “slow feet don’t eat.”

He’s still scoring goals like this too, like this stoppage time winner from the Union’s last trip to Seattle.

The Sounder’s Gustav Svensson has every reason to expect he had time to get to that pass from Stefan Frei. But he didn’t. Why? Because Fafà Picault is so fast that professional athletes are surprised by it.

But he’s more than just a flash of speed.

When Alejandro Bedoya received a questionable red card (and Haris Medunjanin a completely justified one) in Atlanta earlier this season, who stepped up to talk to the ref? Fafà Picault. Normally one of the more passionate and demonstrative members of the Union, Picault calmly stepped forward and tried to deescalate a situation that had already spiraled out of hand. That shows an awareness of what’s going on around him, and an ability to focus on what he can do to help the team, that the young players on the Union roster are learning from.

Oh, and he also scored a pretty nice goal in that Atlanta game too. And he’s kept doing it over and over again.

7 Comments

  1. Aaron Widman says:

    Great that you got one for Fafa he is a horse who plays soccer. BUT WHERE IS THE ONE FOR RAY AND DRE??? RAY IS THE ALLTIME CAPPED PLAYER FOR THE UNION AND IN THAT LAST SEASON AND A HALF HAS REVOLUTIONIZED HIS OFFENSIVE GAME TO BE A CAPABLE PLAYER ALL AROUND AT HIS POSITION. HE STARTED HIS CAREER MAKING HALF OF THE CURRENT LEAGUE MINIMUM. HES GIVEN EVERYTHING AND THEIR IS A REASON FABI NO LONGER STARTS. also, c’mon. SAVES BY DRE.

    • Aaron, you might want to check the first article in the Series, September 18th, by Dan Walsh.

      • Aaron Widman says:

        I am embarassed. Carry on.

      • And a post on Gaddis is already in our internal queue. It was supposed to run last week, but I wasn’t going to run it right after he played a bad game in Houston while playing injured.

        I will note that your follow-up post is awesome, however. 🙂

    • Also feel free not to use all caps. It kinda screams “I’m a child and no one should listen”.

  2. I was just thinking during the match on Saturday, that Fafa might be the heart and soul of this team. The dude has put on a clinic in work ethic and hustle since his “we don’t suck” comment. He’s really been after it all year, but stepped it up an even higher notch recently. I’m extremely impressed by him.

    • If his finishing was a touch better he’d be a star. Dude refuses to be out hustled and out worked. Great player to have on your team and a great example for the younger players on the team/academy and for young fans watching. I agree he has definitely walked the walked.

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