add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );Eagles Tie Syracuse 1-1 in Men's Soccer - BANG.
Photo Courtesy of Boston College Men's Soccer / Twitter

Eagles Tie Syracuse 1-1 in Men's Soccer

It’s clear that the script writers are back, as the Eagles tied no.22 Syracuse 1-1 in their final regular season match. The thrilling season finale included the return of former Eagle, Michael Suski, the Eagles honoring their seniors, and the new number 11, Xavi O’Neil, finally scoring his first collegiate goal. Lorenzo Boselli scored for Syracuse.

Syracuse looked to rain on the Eagles parade early, scoring in the 5th minute. The play started in Syracuse’s defensive end, with the defense sending a long pass down the left side. The initial header flick on was cleared by the Eagles, but Syracuse recovered, with Jeorgio Kocevski heading the ball to Boselli at full sprint. As CJ Williams tried to recover, Boselli one-timed the still bouncing ball, finding the space between Brennan Klein and the near-post to make the score 1-0 Syracuse in the blink of an eye.

However, the Eagles wouldn’t go down without a fight, not at home. In the 35th minute O’Neil found the answer. Drew Serafino started the play with a quick pass to Marco Dos Santos, standing on the sideline. Dos Santos quickly filtered the ball to O’Neil, who took the space Syracuse gave him, driving to the top of the 18-yard box before rifling off a shot with his left foot that floated past Syracuse keeper Jahiem Wickham. O’Neil’s first collegiate goal tied the game 1-1.

Settling into the game, the Eagles defense held Syracuse to just two shots on net all game, although they conceded 12 shots total. Max Andrews, having started with Diego’s Ochoa’s injury, held down the right side, balancing his clean defensive play with his ability to move the ball forward. In the second half, as Syracuse pushed for the winning goal, Andrews was instrumental in driving the Eagles forward and refusing to allow Syracuse to dictate the pace of the game.

Offensive struggles persisted, despite the O’Neil goal. Ted Cargill, in one of his best games, had a chance to convert a header in the first half but couldn’t get the shot on frame. O’Neil and Alfie Hughes both had what seemed like excellent opportunities, but were disposed of the ball before getting a shot off. Sam White cracked a long shot 58th minute that forced a save from Syracuse goalkeeper Wickham. Despite the Eagles peppering the Syracuse defense, their opportunities rarely felt dangerous.

The combination of Hughes and Augustine Boadi provided particularly effective for the Eagles, especially when it came to earning corners. With the addition of Cargill as a deeper outlet, the Eagles racked up five corners in the game, opting to send the corners into the box instead of the short corners that have plagued the Eagles all season. Although the quick passes designed to spring Boadi rarely ended in a chance on net, the sequence forced Syracuse to spread out their defense, and Cargill took advantage as the holding defender, finding the space to quickly switch fields or drive centrally.

Part of the defensive success lies in the partnership of Cargill and Jack Burkhardt. With Cargill comfortable possessing the ball on the dribble, Burkhardt’s vision has been a benefit to the Eagles, who have struggled to advance out of their own defensive end. Burkhardt’s feeder passes send the Eagles into space, allowing them to break out against Syracuse and involving the midfield beyond playing the ball wide.

For those wondering, Suski did play, subbing in immediately after O’Neil scored. O’Neil defended the former Eagle well, preventing Suski from having a shot in the ten minutes he played. 

Scarier than his return to play was the near penalty in the 88th minute. Boselli, threatening again, went down and the energy on Newton soccer field went up as everyone tensed, waiting to see if referee David Erbacher, who’d been quick to whistle before, would signal a foul. Play continued and the Eagles—and their fans—breathed a sigh of relief when the clock finally hit zero.

Redshirt junior Klein ended the night with one save. Jorge Dickens saw significant minutes at the center forward role. Nacho Dominguez and Leon Musial were also honored in a pre-match celebration of the seniors’ hard work, dedication, and time given to the Eagles during their time on the Heights.

The Eagles (3-8-5) are the 12th ranked seed in the ACC tournament and took on no.5 seed Duke (10-3-2) at Duke on Wednesday, November 1st at 6:00pm.

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