Ed. Note: TNIAAMer Chari Bayanker was kind enough to put together this in-season catch-up on the Syracuse Orange men's soccer team. Just like most SU athletics programs, it's one on the way up. No time like the present to hop on the bandwagon...
The men’s soccer team has often been an afterthought in the overall picture of Syracuse Athletics. A record of 8-36-7 over the past three seasons didn’t help the cause. However, with a core of impressive underclassmen, the program appears to be on the rise. A 6-0 romp over Colgate on Monday put them at 3-1 for the season. That matches their entire win total from last season.
Three freshmen start for Syracuse and two are local products, goalkeeper Alex Bono (Baldwinsville) and midfielder Stefanos Stamoulacatos (West Genesee). Both were part of the United States Under-18 national team player pool and were highly rated recruits. In May, Stamoulacatos traveled to Portugal with the U-18 squad to take part in the 2012 Lisbon International Tournament. Bono was named to the 2011-12 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Eastern Conference Starting XI. The third freshman starter is New Zealand native Jordan Vale. He’s SU’s leading scorer with three goals.
The sophomore starters are defenders Skylar Thomas, Jordan Murrell, and Chris Makowski as well as midfielder Nick Perea. Thomas and Murrell are both from Canada and played for the national team.
The starters are evidence of the overall youth movement on the team. Only nine of the 27 players on the roster are juniors and seniors. Still, the team relies heavily on senior forwards Louis Clark, Lars Muller and junior Tony Asante to lead the attack.
How They Look
A view from the stands of SU Soccer Stadium during SU’s 6-0 win against Colgate on Monday night.
- Alex Bono was loud and confident in the box. Had a few moments of indecision but showed great poise and calm for a freshman.
- Skylar Thomas is a physically imposing defender. He was able to intercept several Colgate passes and dominated their forwards. Jordan Murrell was attacked more but held up well. He’s strong in the air and has great quickness.
- Ted Cribley controlled the middle of the field. He was breaking up Colgate attacks and had deft passes that set up chances for the Syracuse offense.
- Tony Asante deserves to be a starter going forward. His combination of speed, power, and touch was overwhelming for the Colgate defense. He scored a beautiful goal after running down a long pass and chipping it over the goalie.
- Stefanos Stamoulacatos and Jordan Vale provide an exciting offensive spark. Stamoulacatos operates on the left side and is constantly pushing the ball downfield and into attacking position. Vale scored on a stunning long shot from outside the box that ripped the upper right corner. His second came on a rebound after Stamoulacatos had a curling free kick that banged off the post.
SU plays six of their next eight on the road, including an invitational in Las Vegas against UNLV and Cal State Fullerton. They have a nice mix of young players and veterans. It will be fun to watch the team progress and see how they stack up with the Big East’s best.
The signs point toward another Syracuse athletics program turning the corner.