The Syracuse Orange men’s soccer team ended their spring schedule in a quite exciting fashion, dispatching the Rutgers Scarlet Knights handily, by a score of 5-0. This spring, the Orange were taking part in the US Soccer Spring College Development Program for the 2019 season. This allowed Syracuse to play some top notch competition, which they ended up going undefeated against. They won the North Division for the Development Program, finishing with a 4-0-0 record and top of the table.
The College Development Program is in itself a change for the squad, as the whole point of the program is to give these college players and programs a chance to play under traditional USDA laws of the game. The clock ticks up, there are limited subs and no re-entry. They include stoppage time in the matches. Overall the rules fit into the global game much more than the current college soccer rules. Within this, Syracuse was part of the North Division, which also included Boston College, Providence, and Connecticut.
The spring season is always different, especially with the penchant of college programs to bring in international players that may slot in directly in the fall. This season however, a familiar lineup was trotted out for the home team. While there were changes, most of the players that saw time were at least known commodities in the squad.
Proud of this group who take tremendous pride in representing Syracuse. A lot of work accomplished this spring on + off the pitch. A 6-0 record but, more importantly, we have made steady progress as a team. Looking forward to the 2019 season. Thank you for all your support! ⚽️ https://t.co/ig7nHhIeh2— Ian McIntyre (@IanSMcIntyre) April 20, 2019
At keeper, the squad needs to replace a four year starter in Hendrick Hilpert. Current redshirt sophomore Jake Leahy took the reigns for this contest. He put in a solid shift, with at least one quite solid save, but overall was pretty non-active as Syracuse controlled the pace of play.
In front of Leahy, some changes needed to happen. To replace two outgoing seniors in Kamal Miller and Len Zeugner, a few options were shown. Sondre Norheim, likely the starter at right center back, and one of the best returning players in the side didn’t see any run, but he’s a known commodity. Instead we saw Simon Triantifillou in his spot. He deputized adeptly. At the middle center back, Dylan McDonald showed quite solid and should probably get more than the six games of run he had last year. Michael Lantry got the nod on the left. He had a bit of a rough day positioning as a CB compared to his natural wider position, but had some moments of quality. Matt Orr, the newcomer from San Francisco, showed well in his cameo back there.
Out wide, you saw John Austin Ricks start in his spot on the right, and the aforementioned Matt Orr on the left. Ricks capped his night with a solid move from the right, cutting inside in the 83rd minute on his left and letting fly for the Arjen Robben special. Both wide players shuttled up and down the flanks all day. The defensive rotation also seemed to be much farther ahead at this point than it was early in the year last year. Hilli Goldhar also had a cameo on the wing, though he started as the left forward.
In the center of the park, it was the tandem of Julio Fulcar and Anferney Arias, the former seeing time as the six and the latter playing a box to box role. Arias, the former U-17 and U-20 for Costa Rica, impressed me on the day, popping up wherever he could, winning aerial duals left and right and overall having a good day. Fulcar did the same, with a more traditional holding role, dropping between the center backs on occasion. Djimon Johnson is likely the starter still in the role Fulcar was playing and got a cameo late, but will likely play a much bigger role in the season moving forward this fall.
Up front, the familiar pairing of Hilli Goldhar, Massimo Ferrin and Ryan Raposo showed that they still have a good bit of chemistry. The interplay between these three was quite impressive this afternoon and it resulted in a few goals. Raposo looked back to working his one-twos and was seriously tracking back. In general the whole team was putting in a defensive shift and pulling it into the counter immediately. Ferrin thought he scored in the 20th minute, though it was waved off by the linesman. He converted in the 23rd though, of a sequence of an opponents head, the keepers glove and a teammate somehow involved, the ball dropped to him for the tap-in. Raposo delivered in the 57th as well, off a well played pass from Julio Fulcar. It was a nice full team sequence that led Raposo to take a dribble and then finish far post. Lucas Rubio and Severin Siorle both came on late in the game and both converted within a minute of them entering the field.
On Saturday, the Orange decided to hand a bit of a walloping to Rutgers, who looked overmatched for a solid portion of the game. This may not portend anything for the future, or it may show that the Orange are in for a fairly solid season. Rutgers had a pretty terrible season at 4-13-1, but this wasn’t just a victory for the Orange. This showed some real promise, chemistry and quality for the squad moving forward.
As we get closer to the summer, we’ll be previewing the squad and as always, updates will be coming in on the squad if any news arises. Until then, if you’re interested, feel free to tune into the No Stoppage Podcast, where my co-host Tom Babcock and I cover soccer, with a focus on College Soccer and the ACC.