Syracuse 2017 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School:  Syracuse 
Conference: Atlantic Coast
Coach:  Ian McIntyre - 7th Season
2016 Record: 12-4-4 overall - 3-2-3 in conference 
Final Season Ending National Rank: Ten by College Soccer News.  Eleven by NSCAA. 

Five Year Win Total:

2012:  14

2013:  10

2014:  16

2015:  16

2016:  12

Key Losses from the 2016 Team:  Forward Chris Nanco (7g, 1a), midfielders Sergio Camargo (4g, 3a), Oyvnd Alseth (1g, 4a) and defenders Louis Cross (0g, 1a), and Liam Callahan (2g, 1a) due to graduation.  Defender Miles Robinson (4g, 1a) who left early to enter the professional ranks. 
2016 Goals Scored and Goals AllowedThirty-three scored.  Twelve allowed.
Key 2016 Statistic: Syracuse held opponents to a total of only twelve goals. They also had a 115 to 68 advantage over opponents in corner kicks. 

Background:  The Orange were 12-4-4 overall last year with a 3-2-3 mark in ACC play. They earned their fifth invitation to the NCAA Tournament (1984, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016) and their fourth in the last five seasons. Syracuse was awarded the number eight seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and advanced past Dartmouth 3-0 before losing to North Carolina 1-0 in the Sweet Sixteen. 

To say that Ian McIntyre has been a difference maker at Syracuse would be an understatement. Under McIntyre's direction Syracuse has become a force to contend with on the national scene.  

The Orange have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen or beyond in the NCAA Tournament for the past three seasons. In 2015, Syracuse advanced to the College Cup (Final Four) for the first time in the history of the program.  

Syracuse joined the ACC in 2013. Prior to that they were a member of the Big East Conference. 

Miles Robinson was named the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named a 2016 All-American by the NSCAA and College Soccer News. Robinson and forward Chris Nanco were 2016 All-ACC First Team selections. Midfielder Mo Adams was named to the All-ACC Third Team and the All-Freshman Team. Adams was also a College Soccer News 2016 All-Freshman First Team selection. 

Number Starters Returning in 2017: Six 

Offense: Syracuse will miss the  offensive productivity provided by forward Chris Nanco (7g, 1a) who was a four-year year starter and midfielder Sergio Camargo (4g, 3a) who was a starter last year after transferring in from Coastal Carolina.

Nanco and Camargo were among a very talented senior class that also included midfielder Oyvind Alseth (1g, 4a) and defenders Louis Cross (0g, 1a) and Liam Callahan (2g, 1a). During their tenure Syracuse secured three berths to the NCAA Tournament, won an ACC Tournament Championship, and advanced to the College Cup. 

Sophomore forward Johannes Pieles (3g, 4a) and junior midfielder Jonathan Hagman (5g, 1a) are among returning players who will be counted upon to fill the void that exists due to the departure of Nanco and Camargo.

Forward Petter Stangeland from Norway is among the newcomers with the potential to immediately add additional punch to the offense. He is a goal scorer with the quickness and physicallity that should enable him to make an impact right away. Forward Tajon Buchanan who played for Real Colorado and Canadian midfielder Simon Triantafillou who played for Signa FC are among other members of the recruiting class who could contributue to the attack sooner rather than later.

The bottom line is that Syracuse's offense may not rely on a single player or two in 2017. A dominant goal scorer may emerge as the season progresses but chances are that instead it will be offense by committee with the responsibility for offensive productivity shared among several different players. 

Defense: In 2016 the Orange recorded an impressive 0.57 goals against average. Their tenacity on the defensive side of the ball last year is reflected in the fact that they posted eleven shutouts and allowed opponents to net a total of only twelve goals.

Duplicating that may be difficult in 2017 as significant reloading will be required on the defensive side of the ball due to the loss of several very talented and seasoned backs. The Orange will be without the services of back Louis Cross who was a two year starter and defensive midfielder Liam Callahan who was a four year starter as well as All-American back Miles Robinson who was a two-year starter. Robinson, the number two overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, elected to enter the professional ranks after his sophomore season.

The effectiveness of the backline will be a crucial early indicator of just how competitive Syracuse will be in 2017. 

Junior back Kamal Miller (2g, 2a) who was a starter last year looks to be the leader of the backline in 2017.  Miller will add stability to the backline and looks to be the guy who will be counted upon to set the pace particularly in the early going. .Junior Jan Breitenmoser who saw action in sixteen contests last year looks to ready and eager to slot into the vacant defensive midfielder role previously very capably manned by Liam Callahan.

Sophomores John Austin-Ricks (1g, 0a) who appeared in twenty contests last year and Hampus Bergdahl who saw action in six games are among other returning players who look to be in the mix for a greater role on the defensive side of the ball in 2017.  

The departures create the opportunity for several of the newcomers to contribute immediately. Center back Sondre Norheim and back Justin Earle look to be among the members of a solid recruiting class that includes several very talented defenders who could emerge and challenge for playing time right away. .

Junior Hendrik Hilpert who has been the starter in goal for the past two seasons returns to anchor the defense. Hilpert gives the Orange a very solid and battle tested presence between the pipes.

Newcomers:  

Coach McIntyre stated, "Every recruiting class should be given the necessary time to adjust to the demands of ACC competition but we are excited to work with this group and integrate these players into our young squad."  He added, "It is a tallented group of the highest character, who will take tremendous pride in represneting Syracuse University."

Tajon Buchanan - Forward - Broomfield, Colorado - Legacy High School - Colorado State Player of the Year. Regional All-American. Scored twenty-one goals and contributed ten assists for Legacy High School in 2016. Played for Real Colorado Academy.

Justin Earle - Defender - Stittsville, Ontario, Canada - Sacred Heart High School - Played for Ottawa Fury Senior Academy. Member of the Canadian U-20 Identification Pool. 

Miles Franklyn - Forward - Teaneck, New Jersey - Bergen Catholic High School - Netted forty-nine goals and contributed twenty-one assists during his tenure at Bergen Catholic. Played for the Match Fit Academy. 2016 All-New Jersey First Team selection 

Dylan McDonald - Defender - Langhorne, Pennsylvania - Neshaminy High School - Scored twenty-six goals and had twelve assista during tenure at Neshamminy High School. Played for Match Fit Academy. 

Evan Peters - Defender - Valley Stream, New York - Valley Stream North High School - Played for New York Red Bulls U-18 Academy. 

Lucas Rubio - Midfielder - Liverpool, New York - Liverpool High School - Played for Empire United U-18 Academy Team. Member of Region I ODP Team. 

Nikolas Steiner - Defender - Baltimore, Maryland - Friends of Baltimore - Played for Baltimore Armour U-18 Academy Team. Also played for Baltimore Celtic. 

Simon Triantafillou - Midfielder - Burlington, Ontario, Canada - Corpus Christi Catholic Secondary School -  Scored twenty-three goals and contributed ten assists his senior season at Corpus Christi Catholic. Played for Sigma FC.   

Oliver Eisen - Midfielder - Stockholm, Sweden - Kungsholmens Gymnasium - Plays for Taby FK. Played for Team Sweden in the 2015 Maccabi Games. Played for Team USA in the 2016 Maccabi Pan Am Games. 

Manny Nunez-Ferrer - Midfielder - Austin, Texas - Bowie High School - Netted twelve goals and added fifteen assists during senior season at Bowie. All-State selection. Plays for Central Texas Dynamo Juniors.

Petter Stangeland - Forward - Sandnes, Norway - Sandnes Videregaende Skola - Played for Sandnes Ulf first and reserve team in the Norwegian 2nd tier OBOS-league. 

Hugo Delhommelle - Midfielder - Rennes, France - Junior transfer from Lander University where he was a 2016 NSCAA All-American. Netted thirteen goals and contributed fourteen assists at Lander University. Played for Stade Rennaus Football Club in France. 

Djimon Johnson - Forward - Bridgeport, Connecticut - South Kent School - Played for Beachside Soccer Club.  

Sondre Norheim - Defender - Bryne, Norway - Bryne vidaregaande skule - Talented center back who plays for Egersunds IK in the Obosligaen. Capped seven times as a member of the Norway U-18 team. 

Matthew Pickard - Defender - Pendleton, New York - Starpoint High School - Member of the Empire United U-18 Academy Team. Member of the NYW ODP team. 

Prognosis for 2017: Syracuse will be a relatively young team in 2017. They will sport a roster that includes fifteen newcomers and thirteen returning players. Clearly the Orange will be reloading in 2017.

Just how long that process will take is not clear. What is unquestionable based on the success the program has achieved under the guidance of Ian McIntyre is that the potential exists for Syracuse to be very good again in 2017. The first step in that process was identifing the gaps that must be filled and bringing on board players with the talent and the team oriented focus who can successfully fill them. This task looks, at least on paper, to have been accomplished. 

The Orange's dance card in 2017 includes an extremely comeptive group of non-conference opponents as well as the expected challenging slate of ACC opponents. As a result that adds a sense of urgency for McIntyre in regard to getting his team to gel early on. On the other hand, this is the type of challenge that he has seemed to embrace and handled very effectively in the past.so chances are pretty good that Syracuse will gel quiclky and improve as the season progresses.

Forward Johannes Pieles and junior mifielder Jonathan Hagman look to be among returning players who will be key drivers in 2017 on the offensive side of the ball. Both are very capable finishers.

Sophomore Mo Adams, who had a tremendous freshman season, looks to be the guy who will anchor the midfield and set the pace in the center of the park. Transfer Hugo Delhommel, who was a Division II All-American and has had a strong showing for Reading United in the PDL looks to be a very capable addition to the Orange midfield.

The departure of Miles Robinson, Louis Cross, Liam Callaghan and Oyvind Alseth creates uncertainty in the backline. Junior back Kamal Miller looks to be the guy who will be called upon to play a key roll in organizing and stabilizing the backline.  Junior back Jan Breitenmoser had a very productive spring season and looks to be ready to assume a greater role in 2017.

The return of junior netminder Hendrik Hilpert in goal is a huge plus. Hilpert, who has two very successful seasons as a starter in goal under his belt, will anchor the backline. He looks to be among the best netminders in the ACC as well as the country heading into the 2017 season.  

The bottom line is that Syracuse has a ton of potential and you can count on McIntyre fielding a team that will have plenty of energy and enthusiasm. This group should be very competitive but it is realistic to expect that they will experience a learning curve due to the number of new faces who will be on the pitch. They will be young which means that consistency in the level of play could be a challenge early on.

The schedule from top to bottom may be the toughest that Syracuse has had during the time that McIntyre has been at the helm of the program. As a result it will not take a long for him to get an indication of just how competitive Syracuse will be in 2017.

It should be an interesting season for the Orange.  Patience may be warranted in the early going.