Set-pieces prove critical in Syracuse victory

After falling behind early, three Orange players score as Syracuse beat Oregon State on Tuesday.

With a sunny start at SU Soccer Stadium, the Orange got off to a fast start. The team had a majority of possession and put together a lot of great passes.

Then they conceded. As Oregon State midfielder Hassani Dotson dribbled at the backline, the team backed off. Before the Syracuse defense knew it, Dotson had put the ball past goalkeeper Hendrik Hilpert and into the back of the net.

Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre called on his team to move more in the final third with hopes of getting back into the game. A diagonal ball played to Syracuse midfielder Adnan Bakalovic gave him the space to attack the goal. Trying to psych out a Oregon State defender, he played the ball towards midfielder Jonathan Hagman. With his first touch, Hagman placed the ball into the goal in the 15th minute.

The Syracuse defense kept three players, Sondre Norheim, Kamal Miller and John-Austin Ricks, solidly at the back. Stability was key to Hilpert.
"As the season goes on and we play more games together, we will become more comfortable in defense," Hilpert said.

A lot of Syracuse movement in the first half was down the left flank, however with less than five minutes remaining the play switched to the right. This is how ball movement would improve in the second half, McIntyre said.

The second half started out fast for Syracuse, and within seven minutes they had its first attempt of the game. Syracuse midfielder Mamadou Balde received the ball at the edge of the box, spun to his left and attempted to move towards goal. His path to goal was blocked, and the referee pointed for the penalty spot.

Captain Miller cooly stepped up and slotted the ball into the goal, with the goalie diving the other way. This goal put Syracuse up front, where they wanted to remain for the rest of the evening.

A free kick for Oregon State outside the box ended up being costly as - put the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal in what McIntyre described as a "soft free kick" to begin with.

Following that, the game became wide open. Both teams had chances to get in front. Fortunately for the home crowd, it was Syracuse who got the last laugh.

Syracuse midfielder Hugo Delhommelle has taken the repsonsibily of set-pieces in his first season. In his final set piece of the match, it paid off.

"I kept trying to put the ball on the front post. Luckily, it worked out," Delhommelle said.

Delhommelle's ball went to Ricks, who put the slightest of touches on the floating ball and directed it to the far post. After hitting off an Oregon State defender, it ended up in the back of the net.

That touch ended up being crucial, especially with the team's upcoming schedule.

Syracuse host Lousiville on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.

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