Apologies for the lack of a rapid recap for these past games. It's been a crazy weekend trying to keep track of the soccer team as well as attempting to organize the Syracuse chapter of the American Outlaws for the Hex matches. On a bright note, the USA has now qualified for the World Cup in Brazil, 2014 with a 2-0 win over Mexico. The legend of Dos A Cero lives on. But I digress.
Friday night, the Orange opened ACC play against Virginia Tech, with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss. The squad made the trip to Blacksburg looking to walk away with a victory and maintain their unbeaten record, but left as victims of a late equalizer and a 98th minute golden goal in the mandatory college overtime period. The first Hokie goal was scored off a scramble, post deflected goal kick by Robert Alberti, and the winner was slotted past Bono by Kai Marshall in overtime.
Nick Perea maintained his consistency and scored again, this time from the spot in the 17th. This was his third consecutive match tallying a point.
McIntyre went with the same starting lineup as he has all year for this one, but mixed the subs up, with Kenny Lassiter and Trevor Alexander getting their first run of the year. Syracuse was able to manage 10 shots, but only 4 on goal to Virginia Tech's 14 and 9.
The Orange got back on track Monday night with a victory against Manhattan. As the 4-1 scoreline indicates, Syracuse got into a rhythym early and didn't let up. The offense was an all Toronto affair, with Alex Halis and Chris Nanco each tallying a pair on the night. Coach McIntyre opted to change the starting lineup, utilizing Grant Chonginstead of Nanco, with Nanco coming in as a change of pace off the bench.
Halis opened the scoring in the 17th minute on the counter, finishing a cross from Emil Ekblom that settled directly in front of him after deflecting off a Jasper defender. The Jaspers weren't able to get much going in the first half, not testing Bono at all in the opening stanza. Syracuse seemed as active as I've seen them throughout the game, with constant pressure and solid defending throughout the match.
The 34th minute gave rise to the second tally of the day, with some nice interplay between Halis, Ekblom and Nanco resulting in the latter finishing off a nice inside out move that left his defender standing still and the keeper caught near post. Nanco took the Ekblom cross far post and into the side netting.
Just after the second, the Orange pressed for the third off a dispossession in the final third by Stamoulacatos, feeding a streaking Noah Rhynhart who put an off balance cross directly to a spot cross goal that Halis could tap in for his second strike on the night. Nanco netted the final goal of the night in the 51st with Halis laying it off to him on the right side of the box.
McIntyre looked to use this match to get some of his new blood a bit of run. Pivot player Mike Koegel got some time for the last 15 minutes of the first half and through the second half for his first major action of the season. Ben Ramin, Tyler Hilliard and Brandon Albert got their first action of the year for the Orange in the second half. Bono and Makowski were the only two Syracuse players to go the full 90'.
Overall the team looked solid on the night, but against an overmatched Manhattan team, the lessons learned from this one may be minimal. The team returns to ACC play this Friday, taking on a very good Notre Dame squad up on the hill. The 7pm kick will be a test for the Orange, with ND being ranked #4 in the country.
With the loss to VaTech, the Orange dropped out of the Top 25, which is mildly disconcerting, but with a few wins, they'll be back in the hunt.