Syracuse second-best to Louisville in ACC home opener

Despite scoring first, Syracuse were limited to five shots the entire game.

Syracuse men’s soccer team lost its ACC home opener to an assured Louisville team at SU Soccer Stadium.

The Orange opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Hugo Delhommelle put a corner in from the left and found defender John-Austin Ricks at the near post. Ricks put the header across the keeper into the far corner.

From there, Louisville dominated the remainder of the half. The Cardinals’ midfield trio of Adrien Cabon, Liam Bennett and Walker Andriot found themselves in plenty of space thanks to Syracuse’s lack of shape. Midfielders Mo Adams, Djimon Johnson and Jonathan Hagman were all dragged all over the place by the width of Louisville’s midfield and wingers. The Cardinals exploited the space and took 11 of its 12 total shots in the first half.

“They created more chances than us today,” Hagman said. “They were more effective. They were better in the last third.”

Louisville’s chance creation paid off in the 30th minute when winger Adam Wilson served a cross into the box that the Syracuse defense couldn’t deal with. After some bouncing around, it fell to Cody Cochran in the six yard box for an easy finish.

Thirty-nine minutes into the tied game, Tajon Buchanan had a great opportunity halted by a hold made by Cabon from behind. The crowd wanted a red card for a clear impeding of a goal scoring opportunity, but the referee deemed it a yellow card offense. A sending off would have certainly changed the game and the tackle could have warranted one.

The Cardinals took the lead 30 seconds before half time thanks to a finish from forward Mohamed Thiaw. Thiaw took advantage of a counter attack that began on the left wing and ended with the Kentucky native slotting it into the bottom corner with Syracuse defender Sondre Norheim on skates.

In the second half, Syracuse changed shape from a 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 and it helped strengthen their hold on the ball. The Louisville defense had less luck in the middle of the park with more defined roles for the midfielders.

Ricks thought that something else changed as well.

“It came from in here,” Ricks said, pointing at his heart. “The boys realized this is a huge game.”

The Orange just couldn’t turn the stability into goals. While stifling the Cardinals into a single shot in the second half, Syracuse only managed two.

“I’m just a little frustrated,” Ricks said flatly. “It’s disappointing to go up and lose.”

Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre was equally stung by the loss.

“This is painful,” McIntyre said. “Every loss is painful.”

McIntyre did seem content though, saying he was happy with the quality in his team. This is despite having only picked up a point in conference play so far.

“It’s an ACC battle,” McIntyre said. “It’s a grind.”

The conference schedule continues next Friday at 7pm when Duke come to visit. The Orange play their next game against Cornell on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.