Men’s Soccer Falls to Villanova in Tightly Contested Exhibition
By: Andrew Selover | @AndrewSelover
CitrusTV Men’s Soccer Beat Reporter
Syracuse, NY – Six of the eight Syracuse Men’s Soccer losses in 2021 came in one goal contests. The Orange needed extra time in five matches and did not win a single one of those five games. All eight wins for Ian McIntyre’s squad a year ago came by multiple goals. For some reason, Syracuse could not win a close game in 2021. That trend has continued to start the new season for the Orange.
After a 6-0 win in an exhibition to begin the 2022 campaign, SU had an opportunity to prove itself against an experienced Villanova squad in exhibition two of three to begin the year. In 2021, the Wildcats survived into round 2 of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Notre Dame 3-0. Tom Carlin’s team is destined to return to the big dance again this year, returning ten starters from a season ago. For ninety minutes on Tuesday night, the Orange and the Wildcats battled it out before ‘Nova edged past Syracuse in a 2-1 victory.
Forty minutes of scoreless soccer started the exhibition before Villanova junior Akinjide Awujo netted the first goal of the night. The Wildcats carried the one goal lead into the halftime break. The Orange emerged from the locker room on the front foot in the second half. Julius Rauch quickly headed home an equalizer just six minutes after the restart. The German forward has now scored in each of the first two exhibitions for SU. Following thirty more minutes of scoreless football, Lyam Mackinnon netted a winner for Villanova. The Swiss senior scored more goals than any Wildcat since 2015 a year ago, finding the back of the net eight times. The forward started all twenty-one games with VU en route to a second team All-Big East selection. Mackinnon netted the winner against Vermont last season in the NCAA Tournament and did the same Tuesday night to send Villanova to a 2-1 victory over Syracuse.
Despite the loss, Ian McIntyre can take positives from tonight’s win. A number of expected starters this year for the Orange including Curt Calov, Buster Sjoberg, and Amferny Sinclair were not in the starting XI. Still, Syracuse went toe to toe with a tournament team from a year ago. SU finishes off its exhibition schedule this Saturday against Saint Francis. A year ago, the Red Flash finished at 7-8 with a 3-6 record in Northeast Conference play. Kickoff between Saint Francis and Syracuse is scheduled for 7PM at the SU Soccer Complex.