Despite offensive pressure, Syracuse loses 5th game in 6 tries, 1-0, to Akron

first_imgWhen the final whistle blew, sophomore forward Johannes Pieles layed in the grass, slammed his palm on the surface and pushed himself up. Most of the other players were hunched over, with hands on their hips, gasping for air.“Sometimes I think our best form of defense is to attack,” SU head coach Ian McIntyre said. “In order to nullify a team like Akron you have to put a lot of work in.”But Syracuse (5-5-2, 0-3-1) couldn’t keep up with Akron (6-2-1) on Tuesday night, losing, 1-0. Watching the opposition celebrate on its home field has become commonplace for SU. After winning four of its first five home games, the Orange has lost four straight at SU Soccer Stadium. One day earlier, McIntyre called the contest the biggest nonconference game in his eight years as coach. For the first 20 minutes, Syracuse looked like it would come out on top, dominating possession and rattling off shots. Early in the first half, the Orange outshot the Zips four to one, but failed to convert, a frequent occurrence in the team’s six-game stretch that has yielded only one victory.Nineteen seconds into the game, SU applied the pressure it wanted to sustain the entire night. As Akron kicked off, midfielder Mamadou Balde dispossessed a Zips forward near the center circle and boomed the ball to a sprinting Tajon Buchanan. The freshman let the ball bounce in front of him, one-timed a volley and watched the ball ricochet off the post.“For a second,” Buchanan said, “I actually did think it was going to go in. I saw it out the corner of my eye go toward the post, it just curled wide.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTo prevent Akron’s high-powered offense from scoring, the Orange swarmed the ball. It trapped players down the wings, deployed two forwards instead of three to have more players in the midfield and muscled players off the ball. Throughout the game, SU accumulated 16 fouls.Syracuse also used its wingbacks to control possession and play up and down the wings. Yet, the Orange couldn’t beat the nation’s 12th best scoring defense, led by 6-foot-6 goalkeeper Ben Lundt. McIntyre said his team was “exceptional” in the first half, despite trailing.In a five-minute span in the first half, the Orange made five substitutions. As each new player entered the game, the pace slowed and Akron started to control the ball. Forty-four seconds after the final substitution, Ezana Kahsay cut between SU’s flat-footed backline following a spell of short passes and tapped a shot past SU goalie Hendrik Hilpert. As Kahsay celebrated with his teammates near the corner flag, a few of the Orange doubled over. Here they were again, down at home after not converting early.“We were in the ascendancy before they scored,” McIntyre said.In the first four minutes of the second half, the ball remained in SU’s attacking third. The possession culminated in a premium scoring chance as Hugo Delhommelle crossed the ball in to Buchanan. The Colorado native beat a defender and headed the ball towards the net. The ball bounced past the outstretched arm of Lundt and wide of the post.With 16 minutes left, SU head coach Ian McIntyre, hoping to find an equalizer, subbed in Delhommelle, Buchanan, Jan Breitenmoser and John-Austin Ricks. The offensive move yielded more chances. Buchanan and Jonathan Hagman each had a shot go wide. Delhommelle had a corner with 12 seconds left that got sent away.After the game, the Zips’ bench rushed the field while the Orange reserves trickled out. Delhommelle lingered on the pitch near the ACC logo. He worked his way over to the bench and buried his face in his hands. A couple feet away his coach commended the team for a performance that, yet again, wasn’t enough.“That’s our DNA,” McIntyre said. “Kept pushing and pushing until the last 10 seconds. That Akron team celebrating was a reflection of how hard we worked tonight.“This was Syracuse soccer.” Comments Published on October 3, 2017 at 9:12 pm Contact Nick: nialvare@syr.edu | @nick_a_alvarez Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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