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Syracuse Men's Soccer: 2014 Season Preview - Part III (Forwards)

Rounding out the preseason preview, have a look at the forwards and the coaching staff.

Orange smoke, domed stadium, fitting...
Orange smoke, domed stadium, fitting...
Darrian Traynor

2014 Previews: Part I (Keeper & Defense), Part II (Midfielders)

The final piece of the preview puzzle is those up front, looking to put the ball in the back of the net. Simple concept. Much more difficult in implementation. The Orange bring back a good chuck of experience, with both speed and technique.


Chris Nanco (So) - Emil Ekblom (So)

Returners: Noah Rhynhart (Jr),

New Blood: Korab Syla (T-Jr), Troy Carrington (Fr), Danny Apajee (Fr)

The speed part returns in the form of Chris Nanco. He's been playing this summer with the Canadian U-20s and is returning to the Orange for his sophomore year. Nanco is really capable of using his speed to overload, draw out defenders and cut in or cross. He netted four for the Orange last year and added an assist over the course. He's also a former high school teammate of midfielder Alex Halis, so we've got that going for us, which is nice.

The technique comes straight from Norway in the form of Emil Ekblom. The list of accolades Ekblom won last year is seemingly unending. Freshman All-American from three different sources, All-ACC and All-ACC Freshman honors, team MVP and golden boot winner with 10 goals on the year. He did that as a true freshman by the way...  He played U-19s for Stabaek, in Norway, who's senior team is now coached by former USMNT coach Bob Bradley.

Bringing these two back would be nice enough, but junior Noah Rhynhart also comes back after a solid effort last year, appearing in 16 matches off the bench.

Korab Syla is a transfer from Herkimer County Community College, one of the best JuCo soccer teams in the country. He was planning on transferring in last year, and I previewed him for that roster, but his enrollment was delayed a year. Here's my writeup on him from the time machine:

Syla led them to the back to back NJCAA National Championships, the latest coming on the heels of a 6 goal and 21 assist season. He was named the [2012] NJCAA Division III Player of the Year and racked up a boatload of All-everything honors. He should slot right into the mix in Coach McIntyre's midfield. I haven't seen him on the pitch, but judging by the numbers, Syla should be a very quality distributor with good vision from the #10 role this year.

Troy Carrington and Danny Apajee are the two freshman forwards coming in. Carrington commits from Verona NJ and carried a standout club season and a lot of speed into a trip north for a few years at Syracuse. Apajee is a speedster who played for the New England Revolution youth academy and shows a good bit of promise in the attack. In his limited action on Saturday, Apajee was making the right runs and seems to have good speed and vision.

Coaching Staff

Coach Ian McIntyre returns to the Orange sidelines for his fifth year at the helm. At this point, he's looking at a career coaching record of 136-99-40, 29-35-8 at Syracuse. The first two years with the program, McIntyre had a rough road rebuilding the program from a stretch of sub .500 records. Since that point he's had two years above the mid-line, including warning a 2012 Big East Coaching Staff of the Year award and taking the squad to the NCAA Quarterfinals.

McIntyre's staff includes a mix of new and experienced coaches. Jukka Masalin was promoted to Associate Head Coach after joining the staff in 2010. He's a former professional player in Germany, Finland, Sweden and the US including Champion's League and UEFA Cup (Europa League) appearences. He's coached at the USL level with the Atlanta Silverbacks as well as on the collegiate level with McIntyre at Hartwick. He also holds his A level coaching badges from UEFA.

Assistant coach Matt Verni is some new blood on the sidelines from Hartwick, where he was the head women's coach, leading them to back to back ECAC tournament appearances. He was a player at Hartwick with Coach McIntyre in the 90's.

Sean Lawlor is the other assistant coach for the Orange, joining the squad last year after a college career at LeMoyne. His playing career included a trip to the NCAA semifinals in 2009.