The Syracuse Orange are on a bit of a run of form after three straight wins, including last night’s against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Orange were able to handle Ohio State, with a final of 3-0, on a windy Monday night up at SU Soccer Stadium. It was a solid match for Syracuse in what could have been a bit of a let down as they faced a non-conference opponent coming off one of the biggest wins in program history against then #1 Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
The Orange altered their starting eleven, this time due to the absence of forward Tajon Buchanan, serving his suspension for a red card in the prior match. What has become a consistent backline of Simon Triantafillou, Kamal Miller, Len Zuegner and Sondre Norheim reprised their roles, as did the midfield of Djimon Johnson, Jonathan Hagman, and Hugo Delhommelle. The front line was a combination of Ryan Raposo, Severin Soirle and Massimo Ferrin.
Syracuse extends its win streak to three! The Orange get the 3-0 victory over B1G foe Ohio State. SU is back in action on Friday when it travels to take on no. 6 Louisville! pic.twitter.com/iFwLPhMAeu— SU Men's Soccer (@CuseMSOC) October 9, 2018
From the start the Buckeyes tried to take it to what had to be tired legs for the Orange, pressing high and forcing a high defensive line as well. Initially, the forwards didn’t seem to be able to find any gaps on the counter and the back line was forced to continue to try and play out of the back through the pressure. Soon the combinations started coming good through the midfield, using Johnson, Hagman and Delhommelle to work it wide and feed the overlaps or the cutting wingers.
In the 25th minute, Johnson had a beautiful sequence, Cruyff-turning into a curling through ball in traffic to find Triantafillou for the cross. It didn’t lead to anything, but the sequence showed what the half was to become. At various points, it looked as though OSU had lost their legs and couldn’t keep the pace of the Syracuse forwards, with Raposo, Hilli Goldhar and Soirle all beating them for pace. A 29th minute counter lead directly to the opening goal, Delhommelle serving a nice ball to Raposo on the corner of the 18, who curled it in to a streaking Massimo Ferrin for the chest in. Initially, it looked as if Ferrin may have sniped it, but upon review, it was a solid finish that would have gone wide otherwise. Either way, he wasn’t leaving it for chance.
This time it’s Ferrin to Raposo! pic.twitter.com/Yde4dxhMuP— SU Men's Soccer (@CuseMSOC) October 8, 2018
In the 35th minute, Delhommelle again lead a break, dropping a pass in to Ferrin cutting across the middle. He left the ball for Raposo at the edge of the 18 and after a bit of interplay with his defender, who wasn’t closing him down, took a beautiful curler into the top corner of the back post. Syracuse went into the break up 2-0.
Massimo Ferrin finished his brace in the 83rd minute with a curler of his own, to give the Orange the 3-0 advantage and seal the deal on the night. Overall the Buckeyes seemed a step slower and needed a touch more than the Orange on the evening. While a solid team, they were definitely outmatched by an Orange side who is finding their stride. Regarding the night, Coach Ian MacIntyre noted that “Even when we weren’t at our fluid best in the first half, we got a couple of goals at the right time, that allowed us to manage the game in the second half.”
Since moving Johnson to the holding spot and freeing up Hagman and Delhommelle, it has drastically opened this team up on offense, while allowing them to drop hard on defense and maintain shape and pressure. They can play out of the high press that they’ve seen the past two matches, with the extra man filling some space. It also frees up Hugo and Hagman to push forward with the offense, with Hugo having the MLS assist on two out of three goals. The way this team has been pinging the ball around, the pass before the pass has been crucial of late and Delhommelle is one to provide it.
Syracuse next face a tough Louisville Cardinals side, ranked #6 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, #6 in the RPI, #9 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll and #9 in the College Soccer News Poll. It’s an ACC game, so of course they’re highly ranked. The match is at Lousiville on Friday, October 12 and will be streamed on ESPN+, via the ACC Network Extra. Syracuse will return home on Tuesday the 16th to host the St. Bonaventure Bonnies.