It wasn't pretty but Clemson defeated Syracuse in penalty kicks to advance to the national championship!
Clemson played an ugly, defensive game against Syracuse, one of the few teams that has been able to match up with Clemson in terms of physicality to control the midfield. The 'Cuse game plan was essentially the same one they used to defeat Clemson 0-2 in the ACC Tournament. They were able to frustrate the Tigers and make the game a sloppy mess in the ACC Tournament and in this game.
Andrew Tarbell was the MVP for the Tigers tonight, coming up with crucial save after crucial save. Clemson's backline was uncharacteristically poor Friday night but Tarbell was able to cover up for all of their mistakes with a game for the ages.
Tarbell did his part in the penalty shootout; Syracuse only scored one of their three attempts. Clemson scored all four of their penalty attempts, with senior co-captain and leading scorer TJ Casner getting the winner.
Clemson will now play the Stanford Cardinal on Sunday afternoon at 2 eastern. Stanford beat Akron in a penalty shootout too, so both teams will head into the game Sunday with tired legs. Akron looked the better of the two sides from what I saw but couldn't pull out a victory. Stanford is good on the counter and has Jordan Morrris, a budding star on the U.S. National Team. The Cardinal will be a challenge but I think the Tigers should be the favorite in this one.
One. Game. Left.