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Kicking it at the War Memorial

Syracuse defender Ryan Pierce clears the ball during the Silver Knights’ league debut Friday night against the Rochester Lancers. The Knights won the game, 16-15.

Syracuse defender Ryan Pierce clears the ball during the Silver Knights’ league debut Friday night against the Rochester Lancers. The Knights won the game, 16-15. Photo by Herm Card.

Those of you who think only of soccer in terms of the outdoor version that features players of such high levels of skill and finesse that they can’t seem to get the ball in the goal very often in 90 minutes of play, need to read very carefully. Devotees of indoor soccer probably know most of this already.

The Syracuse Silver Knights made their Major Indoor Soccer League debut Friday night with an exciting come-from-behind 16-15 win at the Onondaga County War Memorial. That’s right, 16-15. So much for dull and low scoring. Put 12 players on the turf-covered rink at the WM and turn them loose to bank the ball off the dashers and drill shots from all over the floor at the eight-foot high by 14-foot wide goals and you have 60 minutes of full tilt action.

Indoor soccer, MISL style is best explained through its similarities to other games.

Think basketball for a moment — goals are two points, three points beyond the 45 foot arc. Thus, games tend to be wide open offensive contests, usually featuring some 60 shots and goals scored in double figures.

Think hockey — the 80 by 200 foot field keeps players in close contact throughout, subbing on the fly keeps the action moving. Penalties can result in man up power plays or one on one penalty shots.

Think pinball — passes carom off the wall forcing the defense to cover the whole field, and wide shots rebound back in front of the goal, giving the keeper no break on missed shots.

Think football — MISL games are four 15 minute periods, time outs allowed and the clock stops for injuries. There is no mysterious “extra time” as in the international version, and there are no drawn out overtimes — first team to score in OT wins.

The league plays a 24 game season with franchises in Baltimore, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Norfolk, Rochester and Wichita in addition to Syracuse. After a three game road trip, the Silver Knights return for games at home on November 23rd and 27th.

Oh — one more thing to think about — it’s a great night out in a family friendly setting.

For the entire schedule and more on the Silver Knights, check their website at http://syracusesilverknights.com.

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