As of Tuesday night, the no. 2 Syracuse Orange men’s soccer team had done something never seen at Syracuse Soccer Stadium. They’ve started the season 8-0-0 for the first time in program history. They’re looking to make that nine wins in a row to start the year this Friday, as they head to South Bend, Ind. to take on the no. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
At this point, the Orange are riding a wave of success. The best start in team history, coupled with a no. 1 Ranking in multiple polls, including TopDrawerSoccer.com and CollegeSoccerNews.com, as well as coming off of a 3-1 victory over Cornell on Tuesday leave the squad with quite the ambitious task on the road.
The Irish are coming off their first loss of the year, knocking them out of their no. 1 perch in a hard fought match against Louisville (5-1-1). Notre Dame has historically been a soccer power. They’ve made the NCAA Tournament in 25 out of the last 27 seasons, and have won the NCAA Title a whopping six times, most recently in 2013. Their alumni include Harry Shipp and the Besler Brothers among their list of 14 All-Americans. Against the Orange, they’re 12-3-2 all time. Thankfully, the last meeting was November of 2015 in the ACC Tournament Final. The Orange took the lead just out of the half in the ACC Championship and never looked back, riding on the heels of Ben Polk, the tournament MVP.
This year, the Irish rely on production from their team leading duo of Brandon Aubrey and Jon Gallagher. Gallagher is a very pacy forward who has racked up plenty of individual accolades the past two years, including All-Regional teams and All-Freshman as well as the Notre Dame Co-MVP last year. He has tallied five goals this year along with three assists. Aubrey is a striker-turned-central defender, who’s become a set-piece wizard. His 6-foot-3 frame and skill set make him a danger any time he’s on the pitch. He has six goals on the year and a single assist, tying him with Gallagher for the team’s points lead.
The road trip for Syracuse will be a major test, though as mentioned, the lads won their last time they headed to South Bend. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday and since it’s no. 2 vs no. 3, you can catch it on the ACC Digital Network (WatchESPN).