Syracuse men’s soccer falls 3-2 in double overtime thriller
SU men's soccer loses to Pitt, 3-2, in 2OT
After positive COVID-19 tests, canceled matches, and a 14-day quarantine, the Syracuse men’s soccer team finally hosted their season opener against No. 2 Pittsburgh.
The Syracuse men’s soccer team hosted a talented Pitt squad at SU Soccer Stadium that came into the game off of a 3-1 victory against No. 5 Notre Dame in the first game of their season.
Unlike season openers in years past, the stadium did not have any fans in attendance due to COVID-19 regulations. Only media and team personnel were allowed onto the grounds.
Coming out of the gate with a high-press, 4-3-3 system in place, the Orange looked to take control of the game early.
This was the case for most of the first half. Syracuse held their own against the second-best team in the country, warding off early pressure from corners and attacks from the left flank.
The Orange did not seem phased by seeing two games canceled and having to go through a mandatory 14-day quarantine. This was the mentality head coach Ian McIntyre wanted his team to have.
“We’re going to throw our guys in the deep end on Tuesday night,” said McIntyre during a pre-game press conference on Friday. “There’s no excuses.”
Both teams were able to string together a few offensive opportunities as the first half progressed, but still found themselves in a tense stalemate thirty minutes into the game.
This deadlock was soon broken by Pitt forward Veljko Petkovic, who scored off of a counterattack on the right flank with just over six minutes left in the first half. Peltovic’s goal separated the two teams going into halftime.
The start of the second half ushered in 45 minutes of an aggressive, physical battle between the two teams. Early on, the Orange found themselves disorganized defensively and committing several fouls, with forward Luther Archimede picking up a yellow card just two minutes in.
Syracuse struggled to maintain possession and were fortunate that Pitt could not extend the lead before Hilli Goldhar’s desperately needed equalizer in the 65th minute.
Goldhar’s header into the back of the net changed the pace of the game, with Syracuse and Pitt choosing to play openly to create more attacking opportunities. This allowed for the game to truly unfold.
Six minutes later Pitt restored their lead through Petkovic on a counterattack again, making it 2-1 with 18 minutes to go. This lead was short lived however, as Syracuse equalized again within the next minute through defender Noah Singelmann.
Both teams fought for the winning goal but the final whistle of regulation saw the game be pushed to overtime with Syracuse and Pitt locked at 2-2.
Syracuse had the momentum on their side going into the first period of overtime, but the game flipped on its head within 30 seconds when Archimede was given a second yellow and shown a red card for a late tackle.
Going down to 10 men forced Syracuse to pull back and play for a draw. With their attacking efforts stunted, the Orange were able to hold on defensively for the rest of the first overtime period, but ultimately conceded the winning goal to Pitt freshman Bertin Jacquesson three minutes into double overtime.
Despite the loss, Syracuse goalscorer Goldhar was happy with his team’s performance last night.
“I think we proved today to a lot of people and ourselves that we do have the talent to compete with anyone,” said Goldhar. “Obviously, coming into our first game the chips were stacked against us but I’m really proud of how we fought.”
All things considered, the Orange showed up to play— and against one of the best teams in the country at that.
Syracuse will now head on the road and look to pick up their first win of the season against Notre Dame in South Bend on Sunday, Oct. 11 at 1 p.m.