The Tigers fell 0-2 to Syracuse on Wednesday night in a game that was probably the worst I've seen Clemson in quite a whille. The Tigers could not achieve the same offensive flow that has been characteristic of their play over the course of the season. Part of that is due to Syracuse's defensive scheme, but also due to uncharacterist mental errors and sloppy play. 'Cuse was able to effectively pressure Clemson all night whenever the Tigers had the ball.
'Cuse's first goal came off a free kick near the halfway line. The ball was chipped forward to the striker, who controlled it and was able to get a great shot off from over 18 yards out. There wasn't much Tarbell could do to try and save it, but I would have liked to see Patrick Bunk-Anderson close down more defensively.
The second goal was primarily on the backline. Kyle Murphy almost tied the game when he got a head to a great cross from Diego Campos. Syracuse countered quickly and fired a shot straight at Tarbell who parried it away. The Orange were able to jump on the rebound and square a pass into the six yard to a wide open attacker, who slotted the ball past Tarbell.
Clemson's makeshift backline showed a few too many cracks tonight against a tough Syracuse team. Alex Happi is a solid player but he was given the hard task of not only playing out of position, but also taking the spot of senior captain Kyle Fisher, who was just named the ACC Defender of the Week this past week.
Speaking of All-ACC honors, Fisher was also named to the 1st team, along with Andrew Tarbell, ACC Midfielder of the Year Paul Clowes, and TJ Casner. Oliver Shannon and Iman Mafi made the 3rd team and Patrick Bunk-Anderson made the All-Freshman Team.
The game was an uncharastically poor effort from Clemson so I won't focus on it too much. The Tigers were not sharp and played poorly at essentially every level. It is a disappointing result in a game I thought Clemson had a very good shot at winning beforehand. However, tournament play, especially a single elimination tournament, can be a crap shoot. Clemson simply did not look like itself and against a good opponent that came back to spell doom. Top ranked Wake Forest lost 1-0 to Notre Dame so the conference final will be a battle of ACC newcomers.
It was a disappointing end to the ACC season but the Tigers should receive a high seed in the NCAA Tournament and at least one home game.