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Clemson Men's Soccer: Syracuse College Cup Q&A

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Our football team is not the only one with a shot at a national title. The Clemson Men's Soccer team is in the College Cup in Kansas City this weekend. Two victories this weekend would see them hoist the program's third national title. In Friday's semifinal Clemson takes on fellow ACC member Syracuse. Ahead of the game we got a chance to talk to Troy Nune's and their soccer writer Steve. A big thanks to Steve for answering our questions and you can see our answers to his questions later today.

STS: Syracuse managed to upset Clemson in the ACC Tournament 2-0, what happened in that game that you'll be looking for on Friday?

TNIAAM: The Syracuse win in the ACC Tournament was pretty well a function of our defense holding up to some set pieces and is capitalizing on one midway through the first half by none other than Ben Polk, our goal scoring machine. From that point Clemson had to chase. I'd like to see the Orange push for an early goal and rely on the defense who has been very stout these last few weeks.

STS: Earlier in the year Clemson got the away win with a last minute goal for the 1-0 victory. Was there anything different in that game compared to Syracuse's win that gives you cause for concern?

TNIAAM: The defense plays like a completely different team. Even though they played well that game on the Hill, they came up short late on that midfield turnover. Again the games played out very differently, and the way they're playing I'd see Coach McIntyre more apt to pushing for an early score and settling into the game defensively.

STS: For those that are not huge soccer followers, who should they keep an eye on for Syracuse Friday night?

TNIAAM: Your offensive wünderkind is Julian Buescher. He plays the number ten and wears the number ten. All offense runs through him essentially. He's good picking a pass and with the ball at his feet.

Ben Polk is the number nine, the striker. Great running on to a ball and can finish quite clinically. He's leading the team in goals with twelve. 

And as I mentioned last week with BC, I'm personally a sucker for a defensive midfielder and Juuso Pasanen is a real solid number six for the Orange.

STS: From a Syracuse perspective, what players on Clemson give you the biggest concern?

TNIAAM: Fisher and Polk will be a matchup to keep an eye on. Clowes not bossing the midfield is another big thing. If Pasanen and Alseth can keep him in check well be in good shape.

STS: What does Syracuse have to do if they want to attack this Clemson defense?

TNIAAM: Set pieces have Been a calling card all year. They also need to boss the midfield. Whoever wins that battle should come out on top.

STS: What does Clemson need to do if they want to have success against Syracuse?

TNIAAM: If Clemson can absorb and counter they will have space to run into. One thing Syracuse has done is leave space ahead of that back three. It almost bit them against BC and did against Dartmouth. It worked for Clemson earlier in the year. That's the easiest way to get in on them.