The Syracuse Orange men’s soccer team opened their 2022 season this weekend with a bang. They hosted Iona on Friday night, then followed it up with #21 Penn State on Sunday and made it out of the weekend unscathed. The 2-0-0 opening to the season was enough to vault the Orange into the 15th spot in the United Soccer Coaches Division 1 Poll. They are one of eight teams that had joined the poll from being unranked and were included for the first time this season.
Friday’s match against Iona was a solid opener, resulting in a 2-0 win for the Orange. Goals by Nathan Opoku and Julius Rauch sealed the deal as the Orange looked the part and opened their account. A tight layoff from Levante Johnson gave Opoku the ball in the box. Some fancy footwork and a beautiful curling finish put the Lindsay Wilson College transfer on the board for Cuse. Rauch got on the end of an Amferny Sinclair pass that was dummied by Cici Pagano and sent it home to give the Orange a cushion they rode home.
That wasn’t the end though as Sunday came and #21 Penn State came to town. One hard fought match and a Colin Biros winner in the 80th minute were all the Orange needed to jump into the rankings. Biros started the move, passing to Giona Liebold, who fed Opoku for the hold up and flicked it on to Biros to send it home and give the Orange the lead.
Over the weekend, Christian Curti was also honored with ACC Defensive Player of the Week honors. After anchoring the defense to two clean sheets on the weekend it’s a well deserved honor for the senior from Brampton, Ontario.
The Orange will head north to take on Vermont this Friday, while continuing the New England road trip with a match against UConn on Monday. Both will be ACC Network Extra matches and you can find them on the ESPN app.