Lack of Offense Kills Men’s Soccer in 1-0 Loss to Akron
By James Groh
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse couldn’t capitalize on its numerous chances, dropping to #24 Akron 1-0 on Tuesday night.
The Orange’s best chance came 30 seconds into the game. Midfielder Mamadou Balde won a challenge five yards inside the Syracuse half. He took a few touches and sent a ball over the top of the Akron defense. Forward Tajon Buchanan let the ball bounce once and then hit a hard swerving volley towards the left post. The ball struck the post and bounced out for a goal kick.
This wouldn’t be the only chance Syracuse had on goal, but it was the closest it came to finding the back of the net. Throughout the game, the Orange had nine shots on goal.
Buchanan said that his team was unfortunate with how the game ended.
“We’re just unlucky,” he reiterated. “I can’t really say more than that.”
The freshman forward had another good opportunity near the end of the game, but it hit the side netting. Syracuse also had a few opportunities in the beginning of the game before Akron was even able to get a shot off.
SU’s Hugo Delhommelle fired a low and direct shot that forced Akron goalie Ben Lundt to make a diving save. Midfielder Jan Brietenmoser was nearly able to capitalize off the rebound, but he got there a quarter step after the Akron defender did.
While Syracuse may have had the early chances on goal, it was Akron that broke the deadlock between the two teams.
It all began when Zips defender Daniel Strachan collected a 50-50 ball at the halfway line, and found the feet of defender Joe Korb. He connected with Morgan Hackworth for a give-and-go about seven yards from the middle of the 18-yard box. Korb took a few touches and played a slight through ball to Skye Harter along the leftside of 18-yard box. He then connected with Ezana Kahsay, who only needed one touch to beat Syracuse goalie, Hendrik Hilpert.
The entire play consisted of 12 touches and six passes.
The second half was more of the same for Syracuse. The Orange was strong defensively, but unable to convert staunch defense into a deadly offense.
Officiating for the match was fair and consistent throughout the game. However, one questionable no-call came during a Syracuse free kick about 23 yards out.
As Delhommelle took his approach to take his free kick shot, an Akron defender ran past the wall the Zips had setup. He jumped and blocked Delhommelle’s shot breaking the 10 yard distance the referee set up.
The play was met with few Syracuse complaints as the Orange immediately needed to transition to defense to stop a counter attack.
After the game, Hilpert said that he no longer cares about his individual performance. He only wants to win a game.
“I would rather have zero saves and one win,” he expressed. “That’s our goal for Friday. I’m just one small part of the team.”
Syracuse has now dropped five of its last six games. It has also lost its position as a top 25 team after falling all the way from 7th best team in the nation to being unranked during this six game skid.
After this loss, SU’s record dropped to 5-5-2, while #24 Akron improves to 6-2-1.
The Orange’s next game is on Friday at home against NC State, who comes into the match 5-4-1 after 3-0 victory over Belmont.