After some tough fought matches over the last few weeks, including a 1-0 away loss to the formerly top ranked Wake Forest side, the Syracuse Orange started their current two game home stand against the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Panthers came into the match at 3-3-1 on the season, 1-1 in the ACC, beating Boston College and losing to Wake Forest. Overall a solid test for the Orange that resulted in a 1-1 draw, moving the Orange to 3-2-4 on the year and 0-1-2 in the ACC.
With starting holding midfielder Amferny Sinclair sitting out on yellow card accumulation, Julio Fulcar got the start in the match. Otherwise, what has become the standard lineup was trotted out. Christian Miesch continued his starting streak after the initial goalkeeper battle to start the season.
Through the first half, the Orange controlled the pace and looked good with the ball on the floor, putting five of eight shots on target, a few of those testing the Pittsburgh keeper Arie Ammann. The goal came through Hilli Goldhar on a cross from Massimo Ferrin in the 18th minute, putting Syracuse up early. In the 36th minute, Pitt was able to equalize, after pushing some route one soccer to Edward Kizza, which he laid off for Veljko Petkovic to slot home. Overall on the half, the combination of Sondre Norheim and Dylan McDonald controlled Kizza, one of the most dangerous players in the ACC, and allowed only a few chances for him to receive the ball and turn or run onto things.
In the 55th minute, the impetus of the game shifted on the second yellow card for Luther Archimede, the freshman winger. After an accumulation yellow earlier in the second half, he was whistled on a seemingly unintentional elbow while winning a header. With the forward off, Syracuse had to shift their style of play and adapt to the ten man lineup. Oddly enough that started with a few extra chances. Rather than bunker, the Orange pushed to approximately a 3-1-4-1 formation, still pushing with either Simon Triantifillou or Fulcar sitting as the holder to cover.
While coping with being down a man, Miesch had some solid positioning and a few saves to keep the Orange in the contest. His distribution, however could use some work. After Pitt made a case and pressured for a good ten minutes, Syracuse narrowly missed a Nyal Higgins header off a beautiful Matt Orr set piece. In the second half, Ryan Raposo was the creative spark that drove the Syracuse attack, which was to be fully expected.
With less than five minutes left, Miesch had a highlight reel save off a free kick at the top of the eighteen. He followed it up with a few other saves, singlehandedly keeping Syracuse in the match. In doing so, he also singlehandedly forced the fifth extra time match of the season for Syracuse.
Coming into the extra time, the Orange forced wave upon wave of pressure on the Panthers, while still down a man. They were able to get a break ten minutes in when the Pittsburgh goal scorer Petkovic was whistled for his second yellow, very similar to Archimede’s elbow through the back of the head of Triantafillou. Ammann saved a huge shot on goal from Massimo Ferrin, played through by Raposo and then again on the restart just after, keeping Pittsburgh in the match. Overall both keepers deserved a man of the match award on the night.
The next match for the Orange is Tuesday against the University of Albany at 7pm up at Syracuse Soccer Stadium.