SYRACUSE, N.Y. (SU ATHLETICS) – No. 7 Syracuse men’s soccer suffered a home loss in a top-25 clash against No. 22 Cornell. The Big Red capitalized on Orange miscues, netting their two goals on a Syracuse own goal and a successful penalty shot. Sophomore forward Nathan Opoku scored Syracuse’s lone goal from the penalty spot in the closing moments of the match.
Syracuse outshot Cornell 17-9 on the night, with six of the Orange’s shots being on target. Syracuse’s defensive unit of goalkeeper Russell Shealy and defenders Abdi Salim, Buster Sjoberg, and Olu Oyegunle allowed multiple goals in a match for the first time this season.
“We knew going in that Cornell is a terrific team having a good season,” head coach Ian McIntyre said after the match. “They’ve caused us some problems the last few years and I think they were worthy winners tonight.”
Despite being outshot in the first half, Cornell (8-1-0, 1-0-0 IVY) found success in Syracuse’s (8-2-1, 3-1-0 ACC) half to open the match. The Big Red midfield was successful in controlling possession, which led to tangible attacking chances.
The first goal of the match came in the 13th minute of play. A miscommunication between Shealy and his defenders led to an own goal. Opposing defender Kisa Kiingi applied pressure on senior defender Noah Singelmann, causing the own goal to occur. This marks the first time this season that the Orange scored an own goal.
Down a goal, the Orange started to push forward in the last 15 minutes of the half, creating chances of their own in Cornell’s half. Sophomore midfielder Giona Leibold was key down the left wing, as he had a shot saved by Cornell goalkeeper Ryan Friedberg. Singelmann also come close to scoring the equalizer, but his strike flew just wide of the crossbar.
Heading into the halftime break, Syracuse took eight shots compared to Cornell’s four.
Syracuse found attacking rhythm and creativity coming out of the locker room. Lorenzo Boselli provided a spark off the bench. The senior attacking midfielder was able to link up play and take shots at the Cornell net. He came close to drawing the Orange level in the 58th minute, but his shot just was wide of the net.
Cornell regained the momentum after winning a penalty in the 67th minute. Salim conceded the penalty after fouling Matthew Goncalves in the box. Goncalves converted the penalty shot, doubling the Big Red advantage.
Coach McIntyre continued to deploy adjustments in the latter portion of the second half, as sophomore midfielder Curt Calov and Leibold found space on the wings to find passing lanes into the box. Opoku almost found attacking partner Levonte Johnson at the back post, but his cross was just behind the Brampton, Ontario native.
With just under a minute left in the match, Syracuse pulled a goal back. Cornell midfielder Kurt Lehmkuhl fouled a Syracuse player in the box. Opoku capitalized from the spot, making the score line 2-1 on the night.
Syracuse allowed multiple goals for the first time this season. The last time the Orange allowed more than one goal in a match was in a 2-0 loss against Wake Forest on Friday, October 29 in 2021.
The Orange conceded its first penalty of the season. They also won and scored the first penalty in 2022.
Opoku scored his fifth goal of the season. He leads the team in goals with five and points with 14.
Kocevski returned to the starting lineup after missing the 3-0 win against Virginia Tech due to a red card suspension.
Syracuse is now 3-1 against opponents in 2022. The Orange went 1-4 against top-25 sides last season.
Shealy hit 30 saves on the season after recording four against Cornell. He is just five stops shy of his Syracuse career season high.
The Orange hit the pitch again on Friday, Oct. 7 for a 7 p.m. top-10 showdown at the SU Soccer Stadium against No. 4 Wake Forest. ‘Cuse then play its third match in seven days when they concluded the three-match home stand against Loyola on Monday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. Both contests will be streamed live on ACCNX. Admission to both games is free of charge.