Mo Adams Shines at Defensive Midfield for Syracuse
By Christian De Guzman
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – As the 80th minute in the match between Syracuse and Hofstra approached, a very audible scream could be heard from the pitch.
“Come on, man!” a Hofstra midfielder exclaimed.
His pass had been intercepted by Mo Adams, a freshman from Nottingham, England. The central defensive midfielder for Syracuse had been everywhere in the defensive third for the Orange that night, and he has been crucial to the success of the Orange.
“It’s definitely appropriate to point out what Mo Adams is doing for this team,” said goalie Hendrik Hilpert. “He plays on a position where you cannot evaluate him with saves or goals something. But the way he’s fighting for this team is incredible.”
“He’s incredible,” said midfielder Jonathan Hagman. “You might not see a lot of him, but he’s very important in our defense, picking up their attacking midfielder.
“I thought he was outstanding the last couple of games,” said head coach Ian McIntyre. “He’s been arguably our man of the match.”
The casual Syracuse soccer supporter may not realize the true impact that Adams has had for the midfield and the defense of the Orange. He has yet to record a goal or assist in the orange and blue for SU. He also only has 1 shot.
However, Adams dominates as part of a defense that has only conceded four goals in eight games. Not only has he impressed with his ability to tackle in the defensive third, he has enjoyed huge success in keeping possession and linking up the play with key passes to the strikers of Syracuse.
More impressively, Adams plays as a solo central defensive midfielder in McIntyre’s unique 3-5-2 formation. With the other 2 midfielders playing more forward in an attacking role, Adams is often the only support up the middle for the three center backs.
“My part is crucial,” said Adams. “When we have possession, I’m all about getting the ball, switching the ball, just keeping us ticking, and I have a big responsibility defensively.”
Being from England, Adams played previously for the under-18 clubs of Derby County and Nottingham Forrest. The stylistic differences between European soccer and American soccer are drastic, and Adams initially had to adjust to a very aggressive style of play.
“It’s a lot more physical here,” said Adams. “In England, the football’s actually on the ground. I think there are more teams that we are playing against and they keep going long here.”
Like most international players, Adams has had to undergo a transition period in order to adjust to the style of play and the culture of the states. American college soccer tends to be more physical and aggressive as opposed to the technical nature of European soccer.
Despite the differences, Adams has still been able to fit in well with the rest of the team in McIntyre’s unique system. His defensive capabilities and his unseen offensive contributions give Syracuse an anchor in the midfield. And Adams, along with his teammates, is enjoying the success of the Orange, no matter what position they play.
“I’m just happy to play anywhere in this team,” said Adams. “Especially when we are getting wins.”