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Wednesday, Oct 05, 2016 at 1:41 am

#3 Syracuse Stunned by Albany, 2-1

By Christian De Guzman

ALBANY, NY – Moosah Khanat jumped into the stands of Casey Stadium and hugged all the fans that he could.

He then jumped down and joined his Great Dane teammates on the field for a wild group photo.

The celebration was for a good reason. Albany upset #3 Syracuse on Tuesday night, 2-1. Syracuse has yet to win a game since September 20th, which was 14 days ago.

“We were sloppy the whole game,” said Syracuse midfielder Sergio Camargo. “Credit to [Albany], they wanted it, they were all over us. But we could have done more, playing it out wide, getting away from that midfield, and play around them instead of playing through them.

Albany opened up the scoring quickly in the first half. Three minutes into the match, Nico Solabarrieta got free down the right-hand side of the field and fired a cross into the box. SU goalie Hendrik Hilpert punched away the ball, but it fell right to the feet of Leo Melgar. He fired a shot into the top of the Orange net and the Great Danes took a 1-0 lead.

SU’s equalizer wouldn’t come until just before halftime. In the 38th minute, Liam Callahan took a corner kick for Syracuse. His delivery found Louis Cross, whose ensuing header would clang off the crossbar. Kamal Miller’s rebound shot was somehow saved by Albany goalie Lucas Vallilo onto the far post. But the ball found Miller once again and he wouldn’t miss his second opportunity. The match was tied, 1-1.

But the Great Danes would retake the lead for good in the 75th minute. Keith Traut put a cross from the right side of the pitch into the box. Brynjar Steinborsson got his head onto the ball as it settled for Jonathan Interiano. His shot beat Hilpert near post, putting the Great Danes up, 2-1.

That would be the final score as SU failed to play a clean and cohesive game. The Orange continued to lose possession and send bad passes in the final third of the pitch. This was a stark contrast to the Syracuse that got eight wins to start the season with crisp passing and the majority of possession.

“We weren’t at our best tonight,” said Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre. “A lot of credit should be given to Albany.”

Tonight was Syracuse’s first game without star defender Miles Robinson. The center back was called up to the USA Under-20 National team and will be in England until October 11th. You could tell someone was missing — the SU defense looked a little less solid than normal against the Great Danes.

“When Miles is playing, we’re a lot more comfortable in the back.” said Syracuse midfielder Mo Adams. “With his athleticism and break-in play, I think we lacked that in the first half, and yeah, he’s missed.”

The SU offense did manage to fire 12 shots at the Great Danes, but goalkeeper Lucas Vallilo had other plans for the Orange. He denied 6 SU opportunities and clearly frustrated the Syracuse attackers.

Syracuse has recorded a loss, a draw, and a loss in its past three games. The program that started the season with eight straight victories is suddenly showing cracks in its armor.

And with ACC powerhouses Louisville, Clemson, and Wake Forest still on the schedule, SU needs to fill in those cracks quickly.