The Syracuse Orange battled hard against the Clemson Tigers, but were unable to capitalize on a possession and shot advantage, falling 3-2 to the Tigers. The match was a replay for the postponed match from earlier in the season, pushed due to Hurricane Florence. It forced the Orange into it’s second game in four days, with another coming on Friday.
The Orange starting lineup was standard, with one change, John Austin Ricks slotting in to the midfield three for Djimon Johnson, forcing Hugo Delhommelle back to the defensive midfield spot. The squad kept up the tight pressure to start the match, working up and down the pitch.
Early in the match, Massimo Ferrin and Clemson freshman Charlie Asensio got a bit chippy, with Asensio trying to pull Ferrin on a breakaway, then fouling him on another play. Overall Clemson played extremely high, almost utilizing Syracuse’s strengths against them. The high press was reminiscent of what we’ve seen from the Orange over the past few matches. It also forced Syracuse out of their normal rhythm and playing out of the back as they normally would.
In the 13th minute, Delhommelle left a lagging ball across the middle into no mans land, not able to be picked up by Kamal Miller or Simon Triantafillou. The pass led to Clemson breaking to the top of the box, with Sondre Norheim fouling the Clemson attacker for a penalty. The subsequent spot kick was slotted home by junior Tanner Dietrich, sending Hendrick Hilpert the wrong way and finishing top right, to open the scoring.
Around the midpoint of the half, Syracuse controlled the pace, putting in numerous crosses, though surprisingly few shots on goal, as the Clemson defense was up for the aerial assault. Out of nowhere, with Syracuse controlling the pace, as mentioned, Clemson midfielder Robbie Robinson pulled the trigger from outside the eighteen. It slipped through the defense and past a diving Hilpert who looked to be shielded hard by the bodies in front of him, putting the Orange down 2-0, with around ten left in the half.
In the 53rd minute, the Orange won a corner after some back and forth play to open the half. Delhommelle swung the ball into the box, to a towering Len Zeugner for his second on the season, heading it expertly into the ground on the goal line and into the back of the net. With the score, Syracuse halved the Clemson lead, 2-1, and continued to press to hold the momentum.
With 27 minutes left, the Orange worked a great sequence of play, with Ferrin crossing the field, dropping the ball to Severin Soirle, off to Buchanan who put a few balls off the Clemson goalkeeper. Overall, Syracuse maintained pressure and handled any of the breaks that Clemson could send at them. Hilli Goldhar was able to come on and inject some more energy to the side, now playing with a bit of confidence.
Unfortunately, in the 79th minute, the Orange were caught out on the restart and again, against the run of play, Adrian Nunez put the third in for Clemson. Quickly, the Orange answered on a great through pass from Ryan Raposo to Ferrin for the clinical top net finish. With 8:43 left, Syracuse was still chasing a goal.
The Orange were unable to get a third and equalize on the road, though they looked the better team all night. As always in this series, another phenomenal match between these two sides materialized on a random Tuesday. The Orange fall to 1-4-2 in the ACC, with their last match coming this Friday at 7:00pm at the SU Soccer Stadium against the Boston College Eagles.