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Friday, Sep 22, 2017 at 11:41 pm

#11 Men’s Soccer Falls to Duke in its Third Straight Loss at Home

By James Groh

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It’s said that history repeats itself, and that sentiment rings true for the Syracuse men’s soccer team. The last time it lost three games in a row was in 2011. Six years later, Syracuse repeated the rare streak when it lost to Duke 2-1 on Friday.

Head coach Ian McIntyre said that Syracuse’s skid isn’t as alarming as some think.

“We’re a young group, but we are going to need to be patient,” he said. “We started four freshmen tonight.”

Those four freshmen were Tajon Buchanan, Djimon Johnson, Simon Triantafillou, and Sondre Norheim. Sophomore captain Mo Adams echoed his coach’s thoughts on the young squad.

“I think most definitely inexperience,” Adams said. “But that’s the learning experience. I mean, when I came in as a freshman I made a few mistakes, but from then on I had a very good season for myself. It’s a learning process. The only way you are going to learn is by playing games. If a guy makes mistakes and takes ownership, I don’t mind.”

Syracuse had a couple of chances in the beginning of the game. Hugo Delhommelle had a shot that was blocked by Blue Devil goalkeeper Will Pulisic.

Tajon Buchanan also had a good attempt on goal. A ball was played over the top of the defenders. He jockeyed for position with a Duke center back and took a few touches on the ball, but the Blue Devil keeper was able to close down on Buchanan’s angle. Buchanan shot it straight into the keeper’s body.

The game was broken open after 35 minutes of play. Duke’s Daniel Wright whipped a ball in with his right foot. Djimon Johnson tried to clear it with his head, but it fell to the feet of Brian White. He took one touch to control the ball. Then he took a shot across his body with his left foot, beating goalkeeper Hendrik Hilpert.

One of the game’s decisive moments came off a corner kick eight minutes into the second half that put Duke up   2-0. The ball was crossed in, and two Duke players made an attempt to deflect the ball into the goal. In the replay, it was unclear exactly who touched the ball or if it simply curved into the back of the net off one bounce. However, the Blue Devil’s captain, Markus Fjørtoft, was credited with the goal.

SU picked up the intensity in the second half and managed to record 10 shots. However, none were capitalized on. Shots were blocked, free kicks went wide, and forwards failed to make connection with crosses.

Adams said that he thought Syracuse was the better of the two teams, but his squad didn’t make the most of its chances. Once the Orange went down 2-0, it was tough to come back.

“When you concede two goals in an ACC game, you won’t win a game,” Adams said.

Syracuse has had trouble keeping its opponents from scoring. So far, the Orange is yet to keep a clean sheet.

“The good thing about the goals we are conceding is that they are very avoidable because it’s individual mistakes, but then again it’s the kind of things that will cost ourselves the game,” Adams said.

The Orange was able to pull a goal back with 15 minutes left to play. Jonathan Hagman scored his fifth goal of the year. Jan Breitenmoser reeled in a ball at the penalty marker played over the top by Johannes Pieles. Breitenmoser laid it off to Hagman, who one-timed it into the back of the net.

While Syracuse picked up the intensity after that goal, it wasn’t enough to draw level with Duke. The final score was 2-1.

The #11 Orange have yet to win an ACC game this season. Syracuse drops to 4-3-2 and Duke improves to 6-1-1.

SU looks to bounce back as it hits the road to take on Colgate on Monday.