Sergio Salcido grows on 2nd-line midfield after Randy Staats injury leaves opening on offense

first_img Published on April 8, 2015 at 8:47 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidman Facebook Twitter Google+ Sergio Salcido never really found a solidified spot. He ran with the second-line midfield in the fall, then wavered in between the second and third units early in the season as Tim Barber found his niche and Jordan Evans worked back from injury.Salcido picked up the offense quickly — which he said is a key to earning playing time from head coach John Desko — but was one of several overshadowed by the mass production of the starting midfielders.“It was definitely difficult for him being on the verge of breaking through,” Barber said.But now that Randy Staats has missed three games with a lower-body injury and Barber has filled his spot in the starting attack, Salcido has reaped the benefits. He’s established himself as a second-line midfielder for now alongside Evans and Nick Weston, and will look to continue showcasing himself in a larger role if Staats can’t go for No. 2 Syracuse (8-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) against No. 4 North Carolina (11-1, 2-0) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.“I’m learning some things that I might not have learned watching and I’m getting a lot more reps in practice now,” Salcido said. “I think it gives me the opportunity to show the coaching staff that I can produce and make plays.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn Tuesday, Desko said he hopes to play Staats against the Tar Heels. He expected Staats to be out on the field for Tuesday afternoon’s practice, and is just going to see how he does leading up to Saturday’s game.But if SU’s starting attack is sidelined for a fourth straight contest, Salcido will continue to fulfill the role he assumed before the season started. Salcido said he picked up the offense at a quick pace in the fall, aided by going into the coaches’ offices and studying film on his own.He had a firm grasp on a second-midfield spot in the preseason, which has made the transition back to the same set role a seamless one.“He knows where to be, he’s got a great shot and he’s definitely great off-ball,” Barber said. “So he’s been doing a really good job.”Salcido said assistant coach Kevin Donahue sends film cutups after every game, diagnosing each specific run players take. Based on the feedback Salcido has received from Donahue, he said he feels like he knows the offense like the back of his hand. Now, it’s just about executing.In a 19-7 win over Duke on March 22, Salcido faked out Blue Devils midfielder Garrett Van de Ven to waste time as the clock ticked down in the fourth quarter. Against Notre Dame on March 28, Salcido assisted Dylan Donahue to cut a once six-goal deficit to one in the fourth quarter. Then against Albany last Thursday, Salcido picked up his second ground ball of the season and registered his sixth shot.They’re small steps, but ones that are building the foundation for higher levels of production for someone who has been told by the coaches that he’s pretty set on the second line right now.Whether his role changes when Staats returns is still to be determined, but all Salcido can do right now is continue to build off of the opportunities he’s being given. “That just means I’ve got to work harder and really start to bite down and execute,” Salcido said. “Consistency is huge and I just feel like at the end of the day I need to start making plays and stepping up.” Commentslast_img read more