The season opened for the Syracuse Orange with the home side joyous and the Massachusetts Minutemen heading home disappointed. After a back and forth, high pressure first half, the Orange were able to open it up in the second and walked away with three goals and more importantly three points in the table for the “W.”
As mentioned in our preview yesterday, the starting lineup is pretty similar to what i had forseen. The backline and keeper writes itself. Chris Nanco is probably the first name on the team sheet, and Oyvind Alseth/Liam Callahan are right behind him.
We slid a few new faces into the starting eleven. Mo Adams, Sergio Camargo, John-Austin Ricks, and Johannes Pieles all joined the party. Camargo is clearly the number 10 (and wears it). Ricks took over the right wingback spot. Adams is a bit of a box to box option and Pieles has been playing off Nanco. He’s a large target, though not as tall as Lassiter, but can hold up play when needed.
The first half, UMass came out like a ball of fire. High pressing from the squad and some potentially dangerous shots that never ended up on target. They continued the pressure, holding strong for the first fifteen minutes. Swarming defense was cutting down passing lanes early. They then ended up in more of a defensive shell. Syracuse started putting the ball out in the open for Nanco and Camargo to run on to. Until the end of the half, there was some strong attacking stanzas, but they ended up coming up empty. The Orange overall had an impressive, controlled first half of the season. Obviously they didn’t end up on the score sheet, but they looked the better team and the defense remained stalwart.
The second half opened up with Syracuse putting the pressure on, playing more uptempo. The breakthrough came on a nice overball from Louis Cross to Chris Nanco in the 49th minute. Nanco settled smoothly, took a tight cut with his right foot then recovered and tightly curled the ball into the far post, past the man on him and the extended Jorge Becerra for the season opener and first of the match.
The Orange followed this up with some consistent pressure on Becerra and culminated in the second of the match. After the Orange continuing possession and withstanding some set pieces against the run of play for Massachussetts, John-Austin Ricks was able to intercept a wayward header and dump it to Nanco. Nanco proceeded to lay off to Johannes Pieles, the freshman forward, who hit a nice inside of the foot cross to Callahan who slotted it home through pressure.
The final tally of the game was a nice bit of product from a short corner. Camargo received the corner, dribbled tight to the touch line and laid it off for a crashing Kenny Lassiter, giving three of the seniors a goal a piece. A well worked piece that overloaded the UMass defense.
The game finished with Syracuse outshooting UMass on a margin of 21 (11) to 3 (1). Hilpert was only tested once and rose to the challenge for a single save. Becarra finished with eight saves on the day. If I were give a Man of the Match out, it would have to be Chris Nanco. While the defense remained stalwart, they weren’t tested a great amount and Nanco was constantly putting UMass under pressure the entire match. He finished with two shots, both on target, and the goal, while running that left flank rampant all match.
The Orange are back in action this Sunday night, 7pm, against Loyola Marymount. If you’re heading up, feel free to swing up early and meet up with us for a tailgate. The match is at the SU Soccer Stadium, just outside of Manley and admission is free.