Syracuse offense is leaning on Chris Nanco’s aggressive play

first_img Published on September 2, 2015 at 9:39 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman Facebook Twitter Google+ In the final seconds of a 2-1 loss against Hofstra, Chris Nanco fired a low shot right to the goalkeeper. He threw his hands up in disbelief. Earlier he tried scoring on a side volley that was miraculously saved, a shot he thought was “for sure” going in.Four times he challenged Pride goalkeeper Patric Pray with a shot between the posts, and had nothing on the scoreboard to show for it.Several days later came the admission: Missing shots can get in his head.“Sometimes it’s bad luck,” Nanco said, “sometimes unlucky bounces, sometimes goalies make terrific saves.“It’s pretty frustrating. You want to get goals and help your team win.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe junior forward is pacing his teammates with 10 shots through two games, seven of which have been on target. But Syracuse largely came away empty in scoring opportunities during its season-opening week, scoring only twice.The Orange (1-1) is leaning on Nanco’s aggressiveness to bear success in its home-opening weekend against UC Riverside (1-1) on Friday at 2 p.m. and Rutgers (1-0) on Sunday at 7 p.m. at SU Soccer Stadium.Head coach Ian McIntyre takes no exception to the outward aggressiveness displayed by Nanco, and is encouraged that one of his team’s premier shooters is getting a high volume of opportunities.“We’re not the New York Knicks and you worry about if a certain player is taking too many shots, it’s at the expense,” McIntyre said. “In our game … we don’t score 100 points a game so you want guys to have that, when an opportunity to present itself, get shots off.”Junior Oyvind Alseth makes up the other half of SU’s starting forward contingency along with Nanco. Alseth has taken only four shots this year, but netted Syracuse’s lone goal on a penalty kick in the loss to Hofstra.Nanco’s shooting tendencies notwithstanding, Alseth is dissatisfied with the quality of offense SU has displayed over 180 minutes of soccer. The team is shooting only five percent this season, a 1-for-20 clip.“If we keep producing a lot of opportunities without scoring goals, we can’t just blame it on bad luck anymore,” Alseth said.A slice of the early offensive struggles can be attributed to a team in a state of transition. Brushing aside that the Orange is only returning about 30 percent of its offensive output from last season, McIntyre said Nanco is still converting to a forward.Previously, he played further outside as a wingman, and now the onus is on him to take up the position of primary forward. Syracuse can’t afford to have Nanco overwhelmed by his early-season dry spell, as he’s the only top-four goal scorer returning from last season.“I feel like I need to do more,” Nanco said. “I think I put more pressure on myself every season, but I think that’s a good thing.”Nanco has done more this season in at least one column of the score sheet. He’s on pace to take 85 shots this year compared to his 37 last season, but is adamant there’s been no concerted effort to take the majority of SU’s shots.It’s been a team-oriented mindset of offensive aggressiveness. Alseth warned that a byproduct of that could be overcomplicating the team’s style of play, resulting in more dribbling and individuals trying to do too much.The numbers indicate that may be the case with Nanco through two games, but his head coach’s confidence isn’t wavering.Said McIntyre: “There’s goals in Chris Nanco.” Commentslast_img

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