Syracuse Soccer Needs These Two Guys Badly
By Jared Johnston
CitrusTV Men’s Soccer Beat Reporter
You would think that the most important positions on a soccer pitch are in central areas. Syracuse men’s soccer has a more unique tactical focus, because head coach Ian McIntyre can’t execute a game-plan without his fullbacks on the outside flanks. Without them, the Cuse’s soccer program would be in a much worse place than its current 1-5-3 record.
Left-back Noah Singelmann has been a force to be reckoned with for SU, as he’s been a key player on both sides of the ball as the team leader offensively with 3 goals and three assists through nine games played.
On the opposite side, right-back Sondre Norheim has produced a goal and an assist on the season, but the Norwegian’s main work has been organizing the back line, along with duties as a team captain.
Beyond the defensive line is a squad that has only won once this season, and the offensive players haven’t been the causal problem. The Orange lacks experience going towards goal along with problems with tactical consistency. SU had yet to lose by a margin of more than one goal before a match at Clemson, but the underlying issue was glaring against the #1 team in the nation.
“I thought for stretches tonight we did some good things,” said Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre. “There are a lot of positives to take from the game, but we conceded five minutes in, five minutes after we scored, and five minutes after halftime. You are going to get punished against a team like Clemson and it’s an area we need to improve.”
This inconsistency from youngsters is what has made the experienced outside backs a crucial piece of the SU makeup. After the two forwards lead the press off the ball, Singelmann and Norheim stretch the pitch and mark up on the outside. This key strategy to be structured out of possession has helped Singelmann to be extremely effective in transition with his offensive skills.
Last season, Noah Singelmann was a freshman rotation player for McIntyre, after relocating to Syracuse from his Bundesliga academies at the under-17 and under-19 levels. The German started 11 matches and featured in all 20 games, posting 1 goal on the season. As mentioned previously, the left back now leads the team in goal contributions, a completely different role than that of what he played last season.
While Singelmann more recently burst onto the scene, Sondre Norheim has always been a steady presence for the Orange. Norheim has been smart, reliable, and most importantly versatile for coach McIntyre, with experience playing as a center-back and a right back in a four-man line, or as a right center half in a back three. This season he has taken up a role as a right back, and was also selected in the third round of the MLS SuperDraft by Nashville SC.
Singelmann and Norheim have combined to equal 40% of SU’s goal contributions this season, a figure that has come few and far between. Without the two charging the flanks, Syracuse would have plenty more problems on its hands. With five ACC matches confirmed to close out the Cuse’s season, head coach Ian McIntyre stated that there isn’t a need to be worried about what’s in store. “I see enough to know we’re not that far away and if we keep training well, the results will come.”
The Orange face their next challenge at Louisville on Friday at 7 PM. Stay tuned to my Twitter handle listed below for live updates of the matchday action.