Even with torn cleat, hours of practice lead Brode to perfect winning kick

by ,

first_img Published on October 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13 Mark Brode hates his cleats. After just 10 games, he is already on his second pair. The first set ripped, and the current pair is on its way. Brode’s right cleat has a tear that requires taping before every game. ‘These cleats are terrible, man,’ he said. ‘They’re falling apart big time. Now I have to play with a taped shoe.’ But that taped shoe — as worn and tattered as it may be — had one piece of magic left within its seams. One perfect strike that gave the Syracuse men’s soccer team just its second win of the season. With just over 30 seconds remaining in overtime against No. 24 Colgate Wednesday, Brode stepped up to take a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box. After a fake by junior Nick Roydhouse, Brode drilled the ball into the upper corner for the 3-2 win over the Raiders. It was Brode’s second goal of the game. And it was SU’s third goal on a free kick this season, all of which have come from Brode and Roydhouse.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Their efforts are the culmination of hours spent perfecting the art of the free kick. It’s proved to be one of the Orange’s most potent weapons this season, accounting for 37.5 percent of the team’s goals. Though Brode’s goal came in the 100th minute of play, it was set up more than an hour earlier in the first half. In the 22nd minute, Roydhouse was taken down just outside the penalty box. Just like the seconds prior to the game-winning goal, Brode and Roydhouse stood over the ball in the first half. Brode faked, and Roydhouse took a left-footed strike toward goal. Although it missed, it gave the Raiders something to think about when they faced that very same scenario in overtime. ‘I think Colgate was fully expecting me to take the shot,’ Roydhouse said. And that was his plan all along. As he and Brode hovered over the ball in overtime, it was Roydhouse who spoke up first, saying he wanted to be the one to strike the ball. But Brode had other ideas. ‘He really wanted that one, too, but I told him I was going to take it,’ Brode said. ‘I practice a lot bending (the ball to the) back post. I just went to hit it and curve it as fast as I possibly could.’ So this time it was Roydhouse who provided the fake and Brode who would take the strike on goal. Roydhouse faked, and Brode struck the outside of the ball with his taped-up right foot. As the ball bent toward the back post, Roydhouse began to jump up and down. He’d seen his free kick against Northeastern give the Orange its first win of the season, and with Brode’s shot in mid-flight he knew the team had its second. ‘I’d like to see my reaction on tape, because I think I started jumping as soon as he hit it,’ Roydhouse said. ‘Perfection. He couldn’t have hit it any better.’ That perfection, that inability to hit the ball any better, came from striking hundreds of free kicks identical to this one with Roydhouse after training sessions. The pair will often stay late, past the time when practice has concluded and the others have left, just to work on their set pieces. With a bag of soccer balls and plastic defenders, they perfect their craft. All in hopes of having one chance to do something special during the games. ‘That’s always how you become confident on anything is practice,’ SU head coach Ian McIntyre said. ‘They’re two good soccer junkies. … It wasn’t just about completing that (play). It was about the composure that Brode had with 40-odd seconds to go to take that one. I think that’s just reward for a lot of hard work for him and for the team.’ And as he stood over the ball to take that shot, he was definitely composed. He told Roydhouse he wanted the chance to hit the shot, and he never wavered. Roydhouse, the team’s leader in goals and specialist on set pieces, couldn’t stop him. He knew it was Brode’s free kick to strike. ‘I couldn’t say no to him,’ Roydhouse said. ‘He must have had a feeling or something.’ Maybe he’ll have to keep those worn-out cleats after all. ‘We should probably see if we can get the guy a new pair of boots,’ McIntyre said. ‘But if he’s scoring with them, and if it works, sometimes you don’t mess with it.’ [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *