Change in formation provides more second-half chances for SU men’s soccer

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13center_img After 45 minutes of being outshot, outplayed and outhustled by Pittsburgh, Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre knew adjustments needed to be made. It was halftime, but the Orange hadn’t conceded a goal. With the score still 0-0, his team was by no means out of the game. ‘Pittsburgh really got on top and created some quality opportunities,’ McIntyre said. ‘That had to change if we were going to get something out of the game.’ Change is exactly what McIntyre did. To start the second half, McIntyre backed away from the 4-5-1 formation the team had been using for most of the season. Instead he pushed one of his midfielders forward to play as an additional striker and create a traditional 4-4-2 alignment. Although the team failed to find the back of the net and the game ended in a 0-0 tie, SU more than tripled its shot output in the second half and had a more consistent, better organized attack.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text The extra striker on Saturday came in the form of junior Nick Roydhouse. He moved up from the center attacking midfield position to play up front alongside Federico Agreda. It took him a few minutes to acclimate himself. Five minutes into the second half, sophomore defender Jakob Karlgren made a run out of the back down the left sideline and crossed the ball to Roydhouse. Alone in the middle of the penalty box, Roydhouse ripped a left-footed volley that pinged off the crossbar. Stunned by the miss, Roydhouse could only throw up his hands in disbelief. ‘I thought it was in,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t have hit it any better. It just rose up too high. Next time, I’ll put it in. ‘Let’s hope so anyway,’ he joked. The new formation also provided an opportunity for senior Manny Sevillano to step in for Geoff Lytle as an outside midfielder. In a 4-4-2, there is added pressure on the outside midfielders to cover a huge amount of the field. They are responsible for pushing forward and assisting the two strikers, and then having to retreat and play defense to help the outside defenders. It was for that reason McIntyre inserted Sevillano into the game. He trusted his endurance, and he trusted his pace. ‘He basically said, ‘We’re going to need your legs,” Sevillano said. ‘I have that speed and fitness that usually really helps our team.’ Sevillano played 63 minutes Saturday, all of which came in the second half and overtime. Playing on the left side of the field with Roydhouse, he nearly tallied what could have been a game-winning goal with two minutes to play in regulation. A beautiful combination between Roydhouse and midfielder Mawuena Agbossoumonde slipped Roydhouse free into the left corner. He played a cross into the box that found its way to Sevillano’s right foot, but his volley attempt sailed over the crossbar. Nonetheless, his play caught the attention of McIntyre. ‘He brought us energy,’ McIntyre said. ‘He brought us legs. I thought he was very good tonight. … Having that athleticism really keeps another team honest, and I thought he worked his socks off tonight.’ Syracuse managed seven shots in the second half, compared to just two in the first. The more focused attack also earned the Orange three corner kicks. It even outshot Pittsburgh in the overtime periods. ‘I think in the second half, we were performing a little bit better,’ Sevillano said. ‘We were on top of Pittsburgh. Usually you try to leave (a team that’s playing well) and see if that team can produce.’ But despite the improved attack, the team couldn’t produce a goal. Through its first seven matches, the team has just four goals and hasn’t scored more than one in a game. The last time the Orange went seven games to open a season without netting at least two goals in a single game was 1960. And it has only happened twice in program history. The offense needs to come around, and it needs to do so quickly. ‘(Scoring goals) is a mentality,’ McIntyre said. ‘It’s an aggressive nature, and you keep working at it. That’s why we practice and that’s how we become confident. We’ll keep working on that quality service, and then the goals will come.’ [email protected]last_img read more