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Ryan Raposo’s rapid development has made him Syracuse’s most impactful player

first_img Published on September 30, 2019 at 1:38 am Contact David: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Over the past five years, some of Syracuse’s most important players have been freshmen.In 2015, Kamal Miller and Miles Robinson paired in the backline for all 25 games of the Orange’s historic 16-win season. A year later, Mo Adams became the team’s most reliable defensive midfielder in SU’s fifth straight double-digit win season. In 2017, Tajon Buchanan started all 18 games, recording four goals, two assists and a team-high 15 shots on goal. All four were selected to the All-ACC Freshman Team and eventually picked in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft.Last season, Ryan Raposo added his name to the list of exceptional Syracuse freshmen. The Hamilton, Ontario native tallied four goals, seven assists and 20 shots on goal, and was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team.“[Ryan] was very, very good for us last year,” SU head coach Ian McIntyre said. “He was so important to what we did.”This season, with Buchanan gone and a year of experience to build on, Raposo has inherited a much larger role. The sophomore is the centerpiece of the Syracuse (3-2-4, 0-1-2 Atlantic Coast) attack and has emerged as the most impactful player on the team. Raposo leads the Orange in goals (four), assists (three) and shots on target (11). Through nine games this season, Raposo has scored game-winning goals, provided pinpoint assists, shown flashes of individual brilliance and emerged as SU’s star.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“With some of the older guys graduated and some important pieces from our midfield gone, an opportunity arose for [Ryan] to take on additional responsibility,” McIntyre said. “He’s done that. He’s been our catalyst so far.”The sophomore switched his jersey number from 23 to 10, a number typically reserved for the best player on a soccer team. While Raposo said that label “doesn’t matter,” he made the change because of his new position as a center attacking midfielder. Raposo spent most of his playing time last season on the wing.As “No. 10,” Raposo slots in behind the striker, Massimo Ferrin. Raposo and Ferrin hail from towns 35 minutes apart in southeast Ontario, and played for the same club, Vaughan SC, prior to college, though they were never teammates.The Canadians reconvened at Syracuse in the summer of 2018 — each their first year on the team after Ferrin transferred from Alabama-Birmingham. Their similar backgrounds and play styles helped them connect from the start, Ferrin said.“We’re confident and comfortable playing with each other,” Raposo said. “He knows the type of player I am, I know the type of player he is.”Eva Suppa | Digital Design EditorRaposo’s familiarity with Ferrin eased his transition into college soccer, he said. In Raposo’s first collegiate game against Oregon State on Aug. 24, 2018, he scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory. In his first five collegiate games, Raposo had two goals and four assists. The freshman ended the year with a team-high seven assists and registered a shot in 16 of 18 games.While McIntyre praised Raposo’s freshman season, he wasn’t surprised by his production. His teammates were, though. Ferrin cited the “massive jump” from high school to Division I as to why it’s difficult for a freshman to make an impact. The two main differences are the age of your opponents and the speed of the game, Ferrin said.“The first year is not easy,” Ferrin said. “College soccer takes time to adapt to. What [Ryan] did last year was very impressive. He came in and always played at a high level. I don’t think he was nervous.”Raposo’s opinion on adapting to college soccer is the opposite of Ferrin’s. He doesn’t pay attention to the age difference and the pace of the game hasn’t been a problem. For Raposo, playing as a freshman was easy.“No one really expects much from you,” Raposo said. “After having the decent season I had last year, there’s more pressure on me now to provide more.”Raposo’s replicated his freshman year success so far, even with the added pressure and responsibility. In Syracuse’s 3-1 win over Binghamton on Sept. 2, Raposo contributed to all three goals for the first five-point performance of his college career. After SU cleared a corner kick in the 23rd minute, he gathered the ball, darted 40 yards up the field and lofted a perfect cross to the feet of Ferrin, who volleyed in the equalizing goal.Later, Raposo broke the tie 15 minutes into the second half, then put the game out of reach 20 minutes later. On both plays, Raposo acted as a striker and snuck behind the Bearcats’ backline with well-timed runs. Twice, the sophomore stayed composed one-on-one with the goalkeeper and calmly passed the ball into the bottom corner.Against Louisville, Raposo almost scored “the best goal of his life” when he first-time volleyed a cross off the back of his heel and hit the crossbar. He rings off 50-yard dribbles from SU’s defensive to attacking third almost every game, beating defenders with body feints and stepovers. He won a header over the back of a defender to set up forward Severin Soerlie’s equalizing goal against Cornell on Sept. 17 despite being the shortest player on the field at 5-foot-7.As Syracuse heads into the toughest stretch of its season — five of its final seven games are against ACC opponents — it will need Raposo to continue his stellar play to improve on its 1-4-3 conference record from a year ago.Of the 10 SU players that have appeared in every game this season, four are experiencing ACC play for the first time. Raposo sees the upcoming run of games as an opportunity to display the experience and leadership qualities he developed last season; the qualities Syracuse needs to compete.“I know my role on the team,” Raposo said. “Scoring goals, providing assists and working hard defensively. Defenders and goalkeepers keep the ball out of the net, attackers put it in the net. Everyone’s got to perform to highest capabilities.” Commentslast_img

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