Column: Free kicks will help men’s soccer team

Eastern+redshirt-freshman+Zabdiel+Justiniano+dribbles+a+ball+in+a+match+against+Evansville+at+Lakeside+Field+on+Aug.+31.+Eastern+tied+with+the+Purple+Aces+1-1.

Dillan Schorfheide

Eastern redshirt-freshman Zabdiel Justiniano dribbles a ball in a match against Evansville at Lakeside Field on Aug. 31. Eastern tied with the Purple Aces 1-1.

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

A big part of the Eastern men’s soccer team’s success can be attributed to the team’s defensive prowess.

Giving up only four goals in six matches, which could have been only one if not for three penalty kick goals from opponents, is nothing to look over.

But a part of soccer that can, at times, be seen as a defensive situation more so than an offensive one, has helped boost Eastern’s scoring and chances for winning this season: free kicks.

A lot of times during soccer matches, free kicks are not scored from at high percentages. Comparing free kicks to field goals in football, points from the former are harder to come by. While a football kicker can have a 70 percent average for field goals made, seeing a soccer player score on that same percentage of free kicks would be considered almost god-like.

Even though there are still a lot of bodies trying to block both a field goal and free kick, field goals tend to have a higher trajectory, while free kicks are lower. Free kicks also, a decent chunk of the time, are aimed to go to a teammate’s head or body, rather than at the goal.

Eastern has scored two of its five goals this season on free kicks; both Shady Omar and Christian Sosnowski have scored on free kicks from about 22 yards out. Sosnowski’s goal came against Evansville on Aug. 31, and Omar’s came against Mercer on Sept. 9.

In both cases, Sosnowski’s in a tie and Omar’s in a win, the goals helped Eastern get some team points for the season.

The free kicks not only have given Eastern some team points, but they have made Eastern’s offensive attack flexible.

If the team cannot score by traditional means, the free kicks are there for the Panthers. On top of that, they give Eastern a lot of chances to score.

With tall players like Omar and defender Edgar Mesa, just to name a couple, Eastern’s chances of winning a free kick and heading it in, or heading it to another player, are multiplied. While the team has not scored on a header of this manner yet, Eastern is already prolific at winning these head balls and will get the ball to find the back of the net with more and more wins in the air.

At the same time, scoring off free kicks outside the box can open up opportunities for the offense to score closer to the goal. 

Naturally, when the opponents see that Eastern can score on shots outside the box, they will want to try and prevent shots from those distances, and good teams would do that anyway. 

So by presenting a distanced threat, the defense may try to pressure higher, allowing space behind them for runners or passes to get behind.

There is a lot of season left, and all conference play is yet to come. But with the good free kick execution thus far, Eastern can use it going forward.

A can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]