Breaking Down a Huge Weekend Ahead for Men’s Soccer
By: Andrew Selover | @AndrewSelover
CitrusTV Men’s Soccer Beat Reporter
October has come, and Syracuse men’s soccer still sits with a single digit number next to its name. That ranking might not last very long following a loss on Tuesday to No. 22 Cornell though. For what feels like the first time this season, Syracuse was outplayed by the Big Red earlier this week. The loss sets up the biggest weekend of the season so far for the Orange. For the first time this season, SU faces true adversity, coming off a loss and facing No. 4 Wake Forest.
As the Orange stare down an important homestand, it’s time to break down the next two challengers headed to the SU Soccer Stadium this week.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons:
There is no light way to emphasize the stakes of Friday’s matchup between Syracuse and Wake Forest. The top defense in the ACC(Syracuse) faces the top offense in the ACC(Wake Forest). The top spot in the ACC Atlantic will be up for grabs, and the Orange and Demon Deacons are both ranked in the top ten. Wake Forest knocked off Jacksonville 1-0 Tuesday, but Friday night will be the first true opportunity for WFU to bounce back from its first loss of the season to Duke this past weekend. It is also an opportunity for Syracuse to bounce back from its loss to Cornell. In common opponents, the Orange and Demon Deacons have both knocked off Virginia Tech and Clemson on the road. SU beat VT 3-0 and WFU won 1-0. Against the Tigers however, Syracuse pulled out a 2-1 win and Wake Forest pulled off a dominant 6-1 victory. Head Coach Bobby Muuss’ team can score, and it can score in bunches. Expect Friday to bring high emotion, quality soccer, and perhaps the best crowd of the season to the SU Soccer Stadium.
On Monday, Syracuse welcomes what should be the easier of the two opponents in Loyola. The Greyhounds currently sit at 3-3-4. Loyola lost its other ACC matchup 2-0 to NC State. The tough part for the Orange is there will only be two days to recuperate after a battle with Wake Forest. Earlier this season, Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre said, “this team’s success will be determined by our performances in the midweek.” McIntyre certainly is accurate in the fact that the Orange must win games like Loyola to make the NCAA tournament. The problem is that SU has not performed to the best of its abilities in the midweek so far. Syracuse struggled to create chances in a 1-1 draw at Vermont, the Orange narrowly escaped 1-0 against Niagara, and now SU falls at home to Cornell 2-1. If Syracuse takes home points against Wake Forest on Friday, the performance against Loyola will show how well Ian McIntyre can prepare his squad to bounce back after big weekend results and how much the Orange were inspired after the Cornell loss. If Syracuse falls to Wake Forest on Friday, the Loyola match instantly becomes the biggest match of the season. With a loss, the Orange would head to No. 11 Louisville on a three-game losing streak. The next two matches for Syracuse men’s soccer against Wake Forest and Loyola are sure to prove a lot about the 2022 squad.