Syracuse’s midfield struggles against Notre Dame’s top-tier unit in loss

first_img Published on October 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Syracuse head coach Phil Wheddon said he knew Notre Dame’s midfield was exceptionally talented. The Orange used four players to try and create a box around the Fighting Irish’s three midfielders and held UND scoreless in the first half.But in the final 45 minutes of play, SU repeatedly turned the ball over and was constantly playing defense. Syracuse (5-8-3, 2-5 Atlantic Coast) allowed two second-half goals in its 2-0 loss to No. 13 Notre Dame (10-4-1, 5-2 ACC) at SU Soccer Stadium on Saturday, partly because its midfield was under pressure — due to inconsistency on offense — especially in the second half.Once Notre Dame got the ball, Syracuse was vulnerable to the counter attack. The loss is also the third consecutive game in which Syracuse was shut out. “I thought we were our own worst enemies and caused our own problems,” Wheddon said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThough the Orange maintained possession in the first half, SU created few scoring chances. Syracuse was outshot 30 to 2 in the game and each time its midfielders had the ball, Notre Dame immediately defended them. “It’s always good to keep possession,” midfielder Jackie Firenze said, “but you don’t win games if you don’t score goals.”It was SU’s inconsistency on offense that gave Notre Dame extra chances. Syracuse remained in its 4-3-3 formation offensively and its midfielders were under constant pressure. The Orange created few scoring threats because its second-half possessions often ended in turnovers.“We could have created more through balls or chips so we could attack more,” forward Alex Lamontagne said.Two of Notre Dame’s three starting midfielders, Cari Roccaro and Morgan Andrews, played for the United States’ U-20 national team this year. “They’re just very intelligent midfielders, very mobile, very good on the ball, dangerous in every way, right foot and left-footed,” Wheddon said. “They’re also very experienced. We have a little bit of inexperience in the midfield and they’re just more dynamic players.”It was Roccaro who scored Notre Dame’s first goal, which came off a loose ball in the middle of Syracuse’s box. And while Orange midfield played well defensively in the first half, it broke down in the second, leading to Roccaro’s goal in the 69th minute.“We got caught in transition, we didn’t track back,” Firenze said of SU’s midfield. “Their midfielder (Rocccaro) scored, so that’s on us. We need to do better next time.”Syracuse’s first shot of the game didn’t come until the 41st minute. Its second, and final shot, came in the 77th minute. The Orange’s lack of offensive production stemmed from the midfield’s inability to distribute and create for the rest of the team.Firenze said Syracuse’s midfield struggled the most in creating dangerous scoring chances, which hurt the team on the other end. Said Firenze: “I think the biggest thing that we need to focus on now is attacking and finishing.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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