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Syracuse men’s soccer struggles with low corner kick conversion rate

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 2, 2016 at 12:46 am Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidman One of Syracuse’s premier strengths has been its Achilles Heel as of late, and it has kept the Orange off the scoreboard and outside the upper tier of the national landscape.SU generates the second-most corner kicks in the conference (105), only six behind North Carolina’s 111. The Orange’s knack for creating opportunities from the corner flag is one of its best assets, but its recent inability to capitalize on them has hindered the offense.The fifth-seeded Orange (10-3-3, 3-2-3) will likely produce more than its average of 6.6 corner kicks per game against 12th-seeded Pittsburgh (2-12-3, 0-6-2 Atlantic Coast) in the first round of the ACC tournament on Wednesday. Syracuse is without its best header of the ball in Miles Robinson, though, because he’s serving a one-game suspension for receiving a red card last week.Whether Syracuse can convert on its presumed bevy of chances from the corner may determine whether the it has to sweat out a game that it should win with ease.“Obviously it’s been a little bit of a while since we scored on corner kicks,” said left-footed senior Liam Callahan, who takes the in-swinging corner kicks from the right side. “I think it’s been a little more difficult just because teams expect us, that they’re looking for us to score on corner kicks … because we’re so dangerous on them.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn four of Syracuse’s first six games of the season, SU scored off a corner kick. Johannes Pieles headed home an overtime game-winner off an Oyvind Alseth corner against Loyola Marymount, Robinson got on the end off an Alseth corner in a 3-2 win over St. John’s, Alseth scored directly off a corner in a 2-0 victory over North Carolina State and Pieles slotted home a Callahan corner kick in a 1-0 win against Hofstra.The most potent area to send in a corner kick is at the near post, Callahan said. There, typically only one defender stands against the inside of the post and the cluster of players is more toward the middle of the goal. When Callahan or Alseth whips the ball in with a low trajectory to the near post, center defender Louis Cross makes a crossing run toward the ball.“When you get that flick on, it’s really unpredictable whether it’s going to go in the net or in the box and scramble around,” Callahan said.But as of late, Syracuse hasn’t manufactured any threat on corner kicks, let alone the spot where it’s most dangerous. In the last seven games, since a 2-1 loss to Notre Dame, the Orange has taken 43 corner kicks and scored only once. That’s compared to five goals on corner kicks in the first nine games of the season.To remedy the problem, Callahan and Alseth both stressed the need for an improved service into the box. Neither aims for a specific player, though Robinson normally finds the ball on his own.“The quality hasn’t been as good as we would have hoped,” Alseth said. “We need to step that up, especially at this part of the season where most games come down to just a goal, a set piece could be the difference.”In total, Syracuse has scored on 4.9 percent of its corner kicks. And since the Fighting Irish ended Syracuse’s unbeaten start on Sept. 23, the Orange is far from its head coach’s desired output from the bulk of corner kicks his team generates.“If we score one corner a game, we’ve done pretty well,” Ian McIntyre said. “It will be an important part of us down the stretch.” Commentslast_img

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