VANCOUVER, BC – Fans at Thunderbird Stadium can attest - Marco Bustos puts on a show on the pitch.
What’s not easily discernible from the viewpoint of the spectator is the thought process that goes into each move, the calculation of angles and lanes, the reasoning behind each decision, and what each goal means to the player.
The three-time USL Team of the Week honouree sat down with whitecapsfc2.com recently and allowed us inside the head of a goal-scorer.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT.Three months after going down with a left foot injury, Bustos makes his return to the pitch. But it was on June 21, in front of the home crowd, that the Winnipeg native announced his comeback to full form, setting the tone for the rest of the season.
Marco Bustos (MB): It took me a couple of games to get my goal but I knew it was going to come, I just had to be patient. It’s always fun to score against our rivals, Timbers 2, and at home. It wasn’t the prettiest goal but all that matters is I got it in the back of the net. That gave me more confidence and got my game going again.
RETURN TO SENDER.Natural-born scorers see plays develop in their heads before they happen. On July 15, as Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC was attempting to clear the ball, Bustos already knew he was airmailing it back in.
MB: This was the toughest of all my goals this year. I knew right when Victor (Blasco) pressed the goalkeeper, he was in trouble. That ball was coming straight to me. Victor did a great job of rushing the goalie and I knew the ball was going to me or out of bounds. On my first touch, I popped it up. The only option I had was to go for goal. I just lobbed it in.
THE SILENCER.Most athletes get a lift from the roar of their supporters at home. The cold-blooded get a rush from the sweet silence of 5,000-plus opposing fans.
MB: Tulsa has a rowdy crowd and you try to take them out and get under their skin. It's good to go to somebody else's place and do the unexpected. Playing on the road, you just need to grind it out. There's less to think about when you're on the road, you just get the job done. On penalty kicks, I never second-guess myself. I know where I’m placing the ball and that’s in the back of the net.
THE SCOOP.Artists sign their work with their names. Bustos is no different on the pitch, as he puts his signature on a masterpiece in Seattle.
MB: I went through and I saw Caleb (Clarke) get the ball, I found the space to get in between the two defenders to get myself on goal, and he ended up playing the ball I wanted. This one really is just my characteristic as a person. I'm a bit of a jokester. I know the coaches probably just want me to put the ball in the net. I had the chance to scoop the ball over the goalie because he came off the line and I had enough space, so why not try it? That's just the kind of person I am. You have to get under the weight of the ball. You get under it and lift the ball. It turned out perfect because the ball had a bit of a bounce. That’s the Marco Bustos Special (laughs).
THE ENCORE.Later in the same match, opportunity presents itself again. Bustos puts the finishing touch on another masterful performance – grand opening, grand closing.
MB: This was more of a chip than the first one. I received the ball and played it to Victor, knowing that I'm in traffic, I had to play off the shoulder of the defender to create some space. When there's this little space, the pass has to be perfect and at the right time. Victor is easy to play with, especially when creating passing angles. He always gets me passes that I can play. This is another one in the arsenal. We have a couple more games left so fans will just have to wait and see.
Come and see Bustos and the next generation of Whitecaps FC stars as they close out their inaugural season with two home matches at UBC Thunderbird Stadium, beginning on Sunday, September 13 versus Orange County FC at 3 p.m. For more information on all WFC2 ticket options, call 604-484-7862 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.