Rutgers reeling after shutout against Temple
The Rutgers men's soccer team is left searching for answers once again.
Less than a week after Marquette shut the Scarlet Knights out at Yurcak Field, Temple held Rutgers scoreless yet again yesterday in Philadelphia to the tune of a 2-0 defeat.
For head coach Dan Donigan, it wasn't the defensive strategy of the Owls that stalled the Knights' attack as much as it was an inability to execute.
"We had our chances. It's not that they shut us down as much as we shut ourselves down," the first-year Rutgers coach said. "We just lacked discipline in all aspects of the game today.
"When one mistake leads to another mistake to another mistake, it's really hard for me to find any positives to take away from this performance. We were pretty poor."
The loss marks the second in as many games for Rutgers (3-3-1) after reeling off a four-game unbeaten streak following the team's first loss of the season.
What hurts most is that the losses to the Owls (2-4-2) and the Golden Eagles come against opponents who entered their matchups with the Knights with a combined 2-7-4 record.
"It was a very disappointing performance," Donigan said. "I couldn't pick one guy or anything from the game that I could say was done well."
After a scoreless first half, Rutgers fell behind in the 59th minute, when Tyler Witmer intercepted a pass from the foot of senior defender Paulie Calafiore and came in on goal unmarked. His shot from outside the 18-yard box blistered past junior goalkeeper Adam Klink and put the Owls ahead for good.
Witmer tallied the second goal as well in the 83rd minute, when Temple caught the Knights pushing forward to equalize. After a long clearance, Witmer broke in on his own once again to push the Owls' advantage to two.
"The second goal, we were trying to push forward a little bit and they broke out with a big clearance," Donigan said. "I thought they were offsides — I'll have to check the tape — but regardless, he just broke through on a breakaway."
On the injury front, senior defender Chris Edwards saw action for the first time since tweaking his hamstring while chasing down a ball in a Sept. 17 victory over Long Island.
Although he made it onto the field, Edwards is far from fully recovered.
"No he's not," said Donigan about whether Edwards is at 100 percent. "He actually had to come back out during the middle of the game. He did go back in to finish things off, but he's still not 100 percent."
The news concerning standout midfielder Yannick Salmon is not much better either.
The senior went down awkwardly on his ankle in the loss to Marquette and did not see the field for the rest of the game against the Golden Eagles or for the entirety of the game with the Owls.
"I don't want to force to get him back, but at the same time he is one of our key guys," Donigan said. "I'm not sure about his availability for this weekend. If I had to guess I'd say he won't be playing."
The Knights' next shot at redemption comes Saturday night in Ohio with a Big East matchup against Cincinnati.
Rutgers is still seeking its first road goal, as it was outscored, 5-0, when away from the Banks thus far.