In its first home game of the season, Cornell men’s soccer fell to Syracuse 0-2, breaking a three game win streak, but gained some valuable confidence and learned critical lessons for the future.
The Orange (3-2) scored an early goal just under eight minutes into the game and then followed up with another just four minutes later.
“From that point I thought we played some of the best soccer since I have been here,” said head coach John Smith. “We were the dominant team after the first 15 minutes and we created a number of golden chances.”
Indeed, throughout the game, the Red (3-1) catalogued eight more shots than the Orange and four more shots on goal.
“If one of those great opportunities had been converted, we would be having a different conversation today,” Smith said. “Because it would have completely changed the outcome of the game.”
Despite the final outcome, the Red walked away feeling positive.
“Despite being a loss on paper, this game gave us even more belief and confidence in our capabilities as a team,” said senior captain Ryan Bayne.
Along with confidence gained, Smith said they learned two essential lessons from Monday’s game.
“First, we learned that we need to be switched on properly when we are defending a set piece,” Smith said. “Second, and more importantly, we learned that we are capable of creating great chances for ourselves, regardless of the opponent, and that is a huge sign that this program is heading in the right direction.”
The Red will next see action this weekend, as it travels west to face California State University Northridge (4-2) on Friday and California State University Fullerton (1-1-3) on Sunday.
“Both teams are renowned for an exciting and attractive brand of soccer, and therefore the two games will provide fantastic opportunities to see how we stack up against two national powerhouses,” Smith said.
The trip will also be a bonding experience for the team, which the Red say will help them with gameplay.
“The more bonded this team becomes — especially when the bond is through positive channels — the more likely we are to find greater success on the field,” Smith said.
The Red holds an undefeated record against Cal St. Fullerton, whom it faced in 2012 and 2013. This will be the first time it meets the Matadors of California State University Northridge in Cornell men’s soccer history.