Rutgers, Hartford can't capture golden goal in OT, settle for draw
Following a devastating 8-1 home loss to Elon last weekend, the Rutgers men's soccer team heads into the 2018 Big Ten campaign without a home win.
The Scarlet Knights (1-3-1) took Hartford (0-3-2) to double overtime at Yurcak Field, the third time the Hawks have played into extra periods this season, but neither team could come out on top with a golden goal.
“I give Hartford a lot of credit,” said head coach Dan Donigan. “We kept trying to rotate guys, but I love the competitiveness we showed.”
Freshman Sergi Martinez put Hartford on the board in the 25th minute, after freshman Kamer Nuhiu found the cutting midfielder from six yards out. The Hawks’ first goal was the Barcelona native’s first of the season.
But just a few minutes later, junior forward Jordan Hall answered with a penalty kick for Rutgers in the 27th minute. The Manchester native earned his third goal of the season after freshman midfielder Nick Cruz attempted to control a lead pass from sophomore midfielder Vincenzo Pugliese, but was knocked down in the box, resulting in the penalty kick.
“Hall’s very dangerous. He has a lethal left foot,” Donigan said.
The goalkeeper guessed where he was going to shoot, but Hall drilled the shot into the back of the net before he could get there.
The Knights pounced on a 2-1 lead, 32 seconds into the second half. Pugliese teed a pass to fifth-year senior forward Kyle Goodwin within Hartford’s box, but junior Kelechi Akujobi headed the ball in the Hawks’ goal, conceding the own goal.
“We want to continue to generate those kind of opportunities,” Donigan said on the equalizing own goal.
Hartford’s senior Xahne Reid scored the equalizer in the 68th minute, his second goal of the season. Reid contributed 4 shots of the Hawks’ 10, a team-high. Two of the 4 were shots on goal, off of transition plays.
Rutgers showed sparks of a dynamic offense, especially in the first half. Hall contributed 5 of his game-high 7 shots during the first half. In total, the Knights outshot Hartford 13-10 in the match.
“Early on, we had a lot of success." Hall said. "The tactics we had going into the game were working really well for us.”
Rutgers did not shoot especially well in the second half. It tied the Hawks 5-5 in shots and was only given one corner kick opportunity. Hartford had its moments where it broke through the Knights’ defense several times, including Reid’s tying goal.
The match was characterized by the sheer-aggressiveness of both teams. In the second half, the Hawks and Rutgers’ bench were issued a yellow card, adding to Hartford's total of five yellow cards. The Knights finished the match with two.
Rutgers senior goalkeeper Rafael Pereira collided with a Hawk in the 47th minute and stayed down for several minutes. Pereria played the entire 110 minutes and made 4 saves.
“I’m fine. It was a couple seconds where I could not breath,” Pereira said on his collision in the second half. He shook his head a few times in the moment, but was able to return on his feet.
A bright spot for the Knights was Cruz. The Monroe, NJ native played 27 minutes off the bench and has seen time in each match this season. Although he was not on the stat sheet much, he created good space and found the open teammate each time he had possession.
Rutgers will look for its first home win this weekend, as it faces Michigan (3-1) on Friday, Sept. 14, to kick off its Big Ten slate.
The Wolverines host Marquette on Monday before they head to the Banks. Michigan is heading into the match after edging Western Michigan 3-2 in overtime on senior captain Ivo Cerda’s golden goal.
“It’s a step in the right general direction. I love the character we showed,” Donigan said.
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