Men's Soccer

No. 8 Syracuse dominates early in 3-1 win over Northwestern

Josh Shub-Seltzer | Contributing Photographer

In its last 56 matches when scoring three-plus goals, Syracuse has not lost a game.

When Syracuse scores three or more goals it wins. That’s been the case for the last 56 games dating back to Oct. 18, 1998. Sunday against Northwestern was no different.

No. 8 Syracuse (3-0-1) dominated early, scoring all three of its goals in the first 20 minutes en route to 3-1 win over Northwestern (1-3) in the two teams’ first ever meeting Sunday night at SU Soccer Stadium. The win boosts Syracuse’s nonconference record to 37-4-2 dating back to 2012 and the three-goal performance puts the program at 244-16-7 when scoring more than three goals in a match.

“That’s Syracuse soccer in that first 30 minutes,” Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre said.

Two days prior, Syracuse struggled to create chances against Princeton. Plagued by a slow start SU totaled just four shots in the first half and scored its lone goal in the 84th minute. McIntyre challenged his team to be better following the 1-1 tie.

On Sunday, his team responded.

It took less than a minute for Syracuse to score its first goal. Tajon Buchanan gathered a pass from Hugo Delhommelle and stuttered with the ball. He placed his right foot in front of the ball then his left before bursting past two Northwestern defenders into open space. The freshman forward then guided a through ball toward Adnan Bakalovic. With one touch, the junior forward beat Northwestern goalkeeper Miha Miskovic to the back left of the net for his first career goal.

“We work on this in practice a lot, just getting in the back post when the ball is on the other side for the wing backs,” Bakalovic said. “I saw Tajon have the ball … I just made my run and luckily the ball came to me and I tapped it in.”

090317_suvsnwestern_shub-seltzer_cp-34Josh Shub-Seltzer | Contributing Photographer

In the first half alone, Syracuse tallied eight shots, double its production just two days prior against Princeton. At the game’s conclusion SU outshot Northwestern 11 to four, its widest margin on the year. The team’s 12 corner kicks on Sunday were a season high, just six behind the team’s total through its first three games.

McIntyre emphasized his team “pressuring in the right areas,”  something done early and often Sunday.

Around 10 minutes into the start of the game, Johannes Pieles charged toward Miskovic, preventing a clear and forcing a bad touch out of bounds.

On the ensuing possession, the Orange attack picked apart the Wildcat defense. Sophomore defender John-Austin Ricks, the lone goal scorer in Friday’s tie, began the play along the right side of the penalty box with a pass to a streaking Pieles. The sophomore then found a charging Jonathan Hagman. Without hesitation, the junior midfielder, who finished second on the team in goals a season ago, scored the second goal of the match just 11 minutes in.

“That’s Hagman,” McIntyre said point blank. “Late runs in the box and he can score goals.”

0831_cusevsnwestern_schlesinger_ape_04Paul Schlesinger | Asst. Photo Editor

Pieles earned his second assist of the day just seven minutes later. Working along the top right corner of the box, Pieles lobbed in a curving ball to a leaping Buchanan. The 6-foot forward rose over a challenging Miskovic to win the header. The ball ended up in the back-right corner of the net as Buchanan subtly put his palms up, shrugging his shoulders. Syracuse was up 3-0 not even 20 minutes into play.

“I saw the keeper still pretty much on his line,” Buchanan said. “So I just jumped up and hopefully I thought I could win the header and I did.”

Jake Roberge provided the lone bright spot for the Wildcats with a header goal off a corner kick from Camden Buescher. The 64th-minute goal came off Northwestern’s third shot of the game.

McIntyre responded by sending starters, Buchanan and Delhommelle back into the game. It didn’t matter though. Syracuse had done its work long before and just needed to wait out the final 26 minutes of play to earn its third win of the season.

“When we stretched the field wide,” some holes opened up between their back four,” McIntyre said. “And that final ball was in there.”

 

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