Most of you are familiar with the Syracuse Orange Alma Mater:
In that third line, the “hilltop high” happens to be inhabited by two other colleges. Crazy, I know. The Mighty Oaks of ESF and the Dolphins of LeMoyne both have solid soccer teams of their own. The former only plays in the USCAA, but the latter is a quality Division II soccer program.
The Dolphins were a NCAA tournament team last year, losing in the first round to conference mates Southern New Hampshire University. The team finished 14-5-2 on the season and made the finals of the Northeast-10 conference tournament. LeMoyne finished third in their conference with a 9-3-1 record and a +6 goal differential in conference play.
Over the course of the last season, LeMoyne’s goalkeeper, Ben Beaury, put in enough solid performances to earn himself an All-American distinction. He’ll give the Orange a test at the back, especially building out of a midfield that has a few question marks.
Salar Faryar, a freshman forward from Germany will be looking to test the defense as well after putting in an All-Region shift last season. He netted 14 last year, leading the team and should give the defense something to worry about.
Last season, the two teams met at Syracuse Soccer Stadium. On the spring day, the Orange took home the victory 3-0. After the contest we also looked at what we should call this local derby. Doing the scientific thing, we put it to a Twitter poll. While Derby McDerbyface didn’t win, the Onondaga Classico did.
Prior to the match a year ago, I attempted to put forth some crazy idea of what I was thinking the Orange would trot out. I was wrong. Looking at the current roster, there’s very few guaranteed spots. The best guess? Syracuse lost wingbacks, centerbacks, a central midfielder and a pair of starting forwards to graduation and Generation Adidas. As such, I have no real idea where anyone will slot in.
At present, Mo Adams is easily the first name on the team sheet. Johannes Pieles saw close to starters minutes at forward and Johnathan Hagman as well in the midfield. Kamal Miller and Hendrick Hilpert both anchored the defense. Beyond those names, the rest can be just about anyone.
There are definitely some remaining questions, especially the wingback spots. To my knowledge, only John-Austin Ricks and Adnan Bakalovic have any semblance of experience playing wingback on the team, but there also seems to be a big lack of centerbacks until the fall. I know Andreas Jenssen and Jan Breitenmoser both saw a good bit of time last year and could both slide into this lineup.
I’ll update some sort of “depth chart” after this weekend, as some spots are being filled, in a team missing it’s most successful recruiting class in history finds it’s new legs.
The second Onondaga Classico will be this Sunday, March 26th at 1:00pm over at LeMoyne College’s Ted Grant field.