Even if there’s not a ‘magic formula,’ Syracuse looks to improve on set pieces

Home   /   Even if there’s not a ‘magic formula,’ Syracuse looks to improve on set pieces

first_imgMassimo Ferrin and Matt Orr stopped staring at the ball and turned their attention to each other. It was overtime and a free kick a yard outside of the box would be Syracuse’s best chance to score against Louisville on Sept. 13. They had to decide: Who would handle the most important set piece of the game?Would it be the Orange’s star striker, a senior who’s tied for second in goals? Or the defender, a first-year transfer from the University of San Francisco whose “wonderful left foot” has dominated set pieces?“It’s not planned,” Orr said. “It’s go with the flow.”Orr took two steps and stopped, backing away and instead jogging into the box. It would be Ferrin’s shot. His shot aimed for the bottom left post — out of the view of Louisville’s goalkeeper off-guard — but couldn’t hit nylon. Again.Free chances for Syracuse (2-2-3, 0-1-1 Atlantic Coast), like the 16-yard free kick against the Cardinals, have been there all season. Yet, production hasn’t come in bulk. Despite 49 corner kicks this season, the Orange’s offense hasn’t converted once. Offense hasn’t been a consistent issue through seven games, but the Orange have only scored once off of free kicks and corners combined.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFixing the problem is not only head coach Ian McIntyre’s job. It’s also Orr and Ferrin’s. Yelling from the sidelines sometimes registers, he said, but it’s mostly directed by who handles the set piece.“We can’t call a timeout, sit them down and show them a whiteboard and say, ‘You guys stink,’” McIntyre said. “That’s the beauty of our game, you have to solve it on the fly.”Eva Suppa | Digital Design EditorThis season, Syracuse’s one-two punch has been Ferrin and Orr, and they couldn’t be more different. Two different positions on opposite sides of the field, one with SU for four years, the other new to the program. Ferrin is a righty. Orr, a lefty. Ferrin has more experience, but Orr dominated reps as early as this spring.Orr came into the spring as a senior transfer with the assumption he’d take over set pieces — it’s a reason why McIntyre recruited him, Orr said. Ferrin didn’t know of him, only recognizing he was a member of the backline at the time, but immediately noticed his prowess on free kicks. “When we gave him the green light he hasn’t disappointed,” Ferrin said.The practice before a game, Orr and Ferrin simulate set pieces at the end of the session with teammates. In those cases, they try to find the heads or feet of their them. But after practice, the two stick around for another 15 minutes. They jump around the field, from the edges for corners to outside the box for free kicks. While their dangerous balls usually involve another teammate’s help, they’ll work on framing balls to untouchable parts of the net. When the time comes to take a free kick in the game, it starts with a chat between Orr and Ferrin. “What do you think?” Ferrin will usually ask, “And sometimes I’ll say, ‘This one’s mine, it’s perfect for me to shoot here.”After they decide who, the taker decides where. Sometimes going short is the best option, but if they’re feeling confident, either one will try to whip a ball in if they can get on it. Against Yale, part of Syracuse’s three-game stretch of ties, Orr was awarded a free kick in overtime. After convening, the defender aimed for the top right corner. Orr placed it where he envisioned, but Yale’s goalie tipped it over the crossbar and onto the hill of SU Soccer Stadium.Gavin Liddell | Staff PhotographerIn that game, the Orange were granted 12 corner kicks, eight taken by Orr. Nothing came out of any attempt in the 1-1 draw. The struggles forced McIntyre to reconsider Orr as an “established” left foot free kicker, giving Ferrin more opportunities. Now, the two split chances, with midfielder Simon Triantafillou sometimes acting as a third option if Orr’s out of the game. “We have trust in what we’re doing,” Ferrin said on Sept. 11. “Maybe it’ll take one to open the floodgates.”Three minutes into a home game against Cornell, Syracuse already found itself down a goal. The Orange had a free kick a few yards out of the box though. Ferrin decided it’d be him. He wanted to whip the ball low.The ball went over a cluster of heads and hit the pitch. The Big Red’s goalkeeper dove left, but the ball bounced past him into the net. The cold spell was over. A set piece finally led to a score.“It’s not any magic formula,” Ferrin said. “There’s nothing crazy we’re trying to do.” Comments Published on September 22, 2019 at 10:08 pm Contact KJ: [email protected] | @KJEdelman Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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