In a heartbreaking finish, the No. 18 North Carolina men’s soccer team (7-3-2, 3-2-0 ACC) fell to Syracuse (4-3-4, 1-2-2 ACC) on Saturday, losing on a goal in the final minutes. The Orange came back from a 3-1 deficit in the second half to win the game 4-3, giving them their first win over the Tar Heels in program history.
Syracuse started fast out of the gate against UNC, with the Orange's Ryan Raposo scoring a goal in the first minute of play. But North Carolina answered back with a goal of its own in the 15th minute with a header from junior Alex Rose, assisted by senior Mauricio Pineda, to tie it up 1-1.
UNC added another goal from first-year Jonathan Jimenez in the 33rd minute to take the lead. At the end of the first half, the Tar Heels were up 2-1 and had outshot the Orange 8-3.
After the break, junior Santiago Herrera came off the bench for UNC and made his presence felt by scoring a penalty kick goal for the Tar Heels, extending the lead to 3-1 at the 57-minute mark. The goal was Santiago’s third this season.
But the Syracuse comeback began when Raposo scored again for the Orange in the 71st minute, narrowing UNC’s lead to 3-2. Then, with only 16 minutes left in the game, Syracuse tied it up at three.
Just before the 80-minute mark, UNC sophomore goalkeeper Alec Smir saved a shot from the Orange, momentarily keeping the Tar Heels alive. But with in the 88th minute, Syracuse took a lead it would not give up when Raposo scored his third goal of the day. The final score was 4-3 for the Orange.
Who stood out?
Rose scored for the sixth time this year, and now leads the Tar Heels in goals for the 2019 season.
Jimenez has scored first two career goals in back-to-back games this week against West Virginia and Syracuse.
When was it decided?
UNC controlled the game in the beginning of the second half leading 3-1. But Syracuse took the Tar Heels by surprise and turned the tables, scoring two goals three minutes apart before the late winner.
The game looked like it was heading into overtime but Syracuse put up its third unanswered goal with less than three minutes left, leaving little to no chance for a UNC comeback as the clock ticked down in the final minutes.
Why does it matter?
The game marked the first time North Carolina men’s soccer lost to Syracuse in history, having beaten them three times and tied twice before today. The home upset also ended UNC’s short-lived winning streak.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will seek redemption when they travel to Winston-Salem on Friday to take on Wake Forest at 6 p.m.
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