Syla set to start, adjust on left wing in place of injured Callahan

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Korab Syla raced on to the field as Liam Callahan was carried off it. Callahan, a staple at the left wing position for Syracuse throughout its best start in program history, had his head hanging down and his right foot lifted off the ground. His arms were around two SU’s trainers as he was hoisted toward the sideline in the first half of the Orange’s 3-1 win over Wake Forest on Friday.And Syla, who had only played sporadic minutes in his first season with the Orange, was now given the reins to a position that had been comfortably occupied.“To lose Liam was disappointing, but ultimately it’s a team sport,” SU head coach Ian McIntyre said after Friday’s win. “And Korab came in and gave us some very important minutes.”Doctors told Callahan he likely had a high ankle sprain and would miss at least a week, he said. And as No. 4 Syracuse (11-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast) prepares to play Connecticut (4-5-2, 2-1-1) in Storrs, Connecticut on Tuesday at 7 p.m., the Orange will rely on Syla, using his weaker left foot, to not have a drop-off from Callahan’s passing and full-field coverage.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyla has played in all 12 of SU’s games, but started only one of them. When he came to the United States from Albania before high school, he didn’t expect to play soccer anymore and didn’t play in his freshman year. When he went to Herkimer County Community College for the first two years of college, it was because he didn’t get Division I offers. Now, he’s being asked to adjust to a potential 90-minute role for one of the country’s best teams.“I come in and out,” Syla said. “I’m pretty comfortable playing that role so I think I’ll be able to fill in pretty good and just help the team.”Syla was the National Junior College Athletic Association Player of the Year in 2012 and came to Syracuse last semester. Though he missed most of the spring season with an injury, an injury to Oyvind Alseth allowed him to get in the rotation during the preseason.Now he’ll be asked to replicate Callahan’s consistency and passing abilities as a wide midfielder in SU’s 3-5-2. Syla knows Callahan’s crosses and deliveries are spot-on and he knows that he’s a right-footed athlete who needs to use his left more now.“He’ll just have to get used to the 90 minutes, that’s the major thing, all the running,” goalkeeper Alex Bono said. “He’ll catch on quickly. He’s a good player, a talented player. But we hope we don’t lose Liam for a long time.”Callahan has thrived because he’s left-footed on the left wing. Syla has been practicing this week using solely his left foot in that position, even if it’s not natural for him. McIntyre said he expects “the same” players — Syla was one of them — that finished the game on Friday to start the game Tuesday. And McIntyre and Syla himself believe he’s up to the task with Callahan out of the lineup.“It’s pretty exciting,” Syla said. “We have to play our hardest to win. Whatever guys come in, we just have to play our hardest.” Comments Published on October 14, 2014 at 12:12 am Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3last_img

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