Syracuse as a young team, faces their first road game this week in a trip down to College Park, MD. They face the defending national champs coming off a poor showing to an instate rival. Before this past weekend I would have been happy with the Orange keeping it to within five. Now with Maryland looking vulnerable and a certain other Maryland based team rising their own level of play, this game seems more valuable. I don't want to say "must win" but the importance level seems to have risen.
I didn't watch the whole Loyola-UMD game, but reading recaps and watching highlights a few things are clear. Against Loyola, UMD was plagued by turnovers and sloppy play. It sounds like that with the loss of their true QB type in Eric Malever, they are starting three finisher types at attack in Owen Murphy, Danny Matlz and Daniel Kelly. Against the Hounds, Murphy seemed to struggle in his role as a QB and finished with zero points. Kelly was the Terps best player with four goals. None of these guys are known for the their dodging so it will be interesting to see if Coach Tillman tries to switch up the lineup. Kyle Long has long been rumored to move to attack as he's more of a passer, but he is coming off a game with five turnovers.
The Maryland midfield hasn't broken out much, the leading scorer is Jack Brennan with a modest four points in two games. The Terps have some size at that position with Brennan and Spanos, will the Syracuse d-middies be able to keep up with their physicality? If the Terp lineups stay the same, I imagine Clary will mark Murphy, Caccamo will get Kelly and Kol/Dwan will take Maltz. It looks like Loyola put a shorty on Maltz, who showed some nice dodging ability, so that might also be an option.
On defense the big storyline is the doubtfulness of Logan McAnaney who seemed to be injured against the Hounds. I don't think there will be much of a downgrade in his replacement in Teddy Dolan. He had a 54% save percentage at Binghamton and now will have guys like Brett Makar and Ajax Zappatillo in front of him. Syracuse can't go into the game thinking that they've somehow lucked out.
Loyola stayed away from Makar, LSM John Geppert and Ajax and attacked the SSDMs (UMD sent their top four to the PLL) and close man Colin Burlace. I imagine Burlace will be match-ed up with Alex Simmons. The Denver transfer has had a great year distributing the ball but has not been great at shooting it - just a 18% shooting percentage. He will have to improve in that department, especially if they plan on attacking Burlace. Side note, but UMD did bring in two Under Armor All Americans in AJ Larkin and Will Schaller - do they get looks?
I don't think 'Cuse will worry that much about matcups, but have to imagine that Leo and Birtwistle will draw the shorties for MD. Will SU move the ball effectively or be drawn into one on one matchups?
Lots of people have commented on how close years matchup was. The Orange actually won the face-off battle in that game 15-13 which allowed them to make a game of it. In the face-off department, I don't think that will be the case this year as Weirman looks his dominant self and Richisua has looked "pretty good", winning exactly half his draws. That said Weirman dominated Loyola 18-4 but Maryland still lost. The Hounds got great play which I think Will Mark can match, but they were also helped by 22 turnovers by Maryland, that seems a bit unlikely to happen again.
Can SU scrap to a few more face-off wins? Can they maintain their defensive discipline against a hungry Terp offense? Can the offense win their matcups? I am a little worried that Syracuse has had a goalie save 16 and 19 shots against them, they'll have to shoot better against the Terps. I'll be interested in tempo for this game. If possessions will be in short supply, will SU slow things down? Loyola apparently did a great job of slowing down the Terps in transition. I think frustrating Maryland early will be important.
Hopefully Zach80 can make himself useful around here and give us more insight on his beloved Terps.