Syracuse took the 2013 version of the CNY Derby Friday night on Van Doren Field at Colgate. The 4-0 win was a solid one for the Orange who looked in control throughout and puts the Orange at 1-0 on the year.
Freshman Emil Ekblom netted two nice strikes in the second half, letting Syracuse cruise in their season opener over the Red Raiders of Colgate. Alex Halis and Noah Rhynhart each put away a strike of their own in the first match of the year. The Orange defense stayed strong and kept goalkeeper Alex Bono from having to do all too much on the day, comfortably taking home a 4-0 victory.
Coach McIntyre showed his hand in naming his first starting lineup of the year. As expected, it was a 4-2-3-1. The keeper situation was a given, with Bono getting the nod. Across the backline, it was Freshman Oyvind Alseth at right back with his first collegiate start, followed up by veterans Skylar Thomas, Chris Makowski in the center and Jordan Murrell on the left. Nick Perea and Juuso Pasanen got the nod in the pivot. The band of three got a Canadian infusion with Chris Nanco and Halis taking the pitch with Stefanos Stamoulacatos. Ekblom was the lone striker.
Early on, Colgate was parking the bus pretty good, Syracuse pressing the offense and playing a bit of a high line. You also saw the backs pressing up and one of the CDMs pushing back into a 3-5-2 style on the attack. The wings were moving up and down the pitch well, but there were a few points that Colgate was able to get through on the counter. These attempts didn't lead to much, but they were a bit exposing, and later in the half, McIntyre moved to a formation in attack closer to a 4-1-4-1 with Perea pushing forward and Pasanen cleaning up in the center of the pitch.
Murrell in particular pressed high and looked good getting up the pitch and whipping in a few crosses, leading to some looks, but nothing resulting in a score. The 11th minute lead to one of the best early chances, with some nice interplay between Stamo and Ekblom. Ekblom missed the attempt, but would make up for it later in the match. The offense continued to click as Ekblom pressed outside, crossing in to Stamoulacatos and the corner of the 18, dumped off to Alseth, who swung in a great cross put just wide by Halis' head.
The first half in general led to a lot of looks from the Orange and a fairly toothless affair for the Raider, with Bono not having a single shot on goal. The defense was able to shut anything down prior to the need for our keeper to be involved, however you could pick up on how vocal Bono was being back in net, directing traffic for his defenders.
The 40th minute opened the scoring on the year, with Murrell crossing in a ball in the 40th minute, finding Halis cutting across the box and leaving it low, bouncing into the net just below the keeper. Nanco with a beautiful "hockey assist" putting the ball out into space to set up Murrell's cross from the right.
Alternate Offensive 4-1-4-1
The second half led off pushing the attack a bit more to no avail. The defense was able to handle anything that Colgate could press forward. Bono was pressed into action in the 65th minute with his first SOG of the day.
Grant Chong had come in for Ekblom late in the first and remained on the field for the start of the second. He had some good looks on the day but unluckily found the woodwork twice, leaving his mark on the post as well as the crossbar on a Lampard-esque strike from distance that curled toward the top corner, but finished just high.
Ekblom came back in for Halis and Rhynhart for Nanco, leading to Chong sliding back to the #10. This lineup ended up leading to the floodgates opening.
Just after coming on, Ekblom connected with Rhynhart for an akward chance from around the penalty circle which was parried by the Colgate keeper, but trickled to the feet of a following Rhynhart. He slotted it for the second goal on night for the Orange.
Just after that in the 69th minute the two connected again, Rhynhart feeding Ekblom, who placed a great strike in the short corner. A minute and change after that, Ekblom finished another off a beautiful feed from Stamo, past a keeper who had pressed out, going far corner, bulging the net.
Mike Koegel and Gogo (formerly known as Emmanuel) Kollie got some run in the late minutes as the Orange finished it off.
Second Half Lineup
Overall the Orange attack looked to be cranking on all cylinders. There are some kids on this team with real pace and the ability not just to run, but to play controlled at speed as well. I'm quite looking forward to what comes from these guys over the course of the season. The defense seems to be picking up where they left off last year as the heart of the team as well, shutting down anything that came near them.
The Orange are back in action tonight for a home game against Hartwick at 7pm up at SU Soccer Stadium. Swing up, it'll be a good time. Stop by if you want, I'll be wandering around with my big camera, trying to get some more stock photos to use for these posts. Say hi, talk soccer, watch a pretty damn good squad.