Rutgers to end four-game homestand with matchup against Marist
Following a devastating 2-0 loss at the hands of Michigan in the 2018 Big Ten season opener, the Rutgers men's soccer team takes a breather from conference play and will welcome Marist (1-3-1) on Tuesday night at Yurcak Field.
The match marks the last of the Scarlet Knights’ (1-4-1, 0-1) four-match homestand. The home team has dropped two contests and tied one.
The team is still without a home win, as the closest it had to a Piscataway win was a double overtime draw to Hartford on Sept. 8. Rutgers outshot the Hawks 13-10 in that game, but it only mustered up one shot attempt in the first overtime.
In their last match against Michigan, the Knights earned more of their offensive chances in the second half. Rutgers had three shots in the second half, one more than its first-half shot total.
The Knights had a possession 4 minutes before the 90 minutes expired, when freshman defender Thomas DeVizio curled a shot toward goalkeeper Henry Mashburn, but the ball sailed wide left. The Wolverines outshot Rutgers 10-5, with four shots on goal.
Junior forward Jordan Hall has been an integral part of the Knights offense so far this season. He leads the Big Ten Conference in shots (18) and is tied for fourth in goals (3) through six games played.
But, Michigan’s defense shut down Hall last weekend. His only shot came off a lead pass from junior forward Brian Hawkins, but the shot soared high above the Wolverines’ net.
Senior goalkeeper Rafael Pereira made two saves on 10 shots for Rutgers. Early in the second half, the Lisbon, Portugal native made a diving save off a shot from Michigan’s Jackson Ragen. This attempt was the Wolverines’ closest opportunity they had to a goal, until Umar Farouk Osman netted a goal from 20 yards out, in the 61st minute.
The Knights welcomed the return of sophomore defender Bryce Washington, who started and played the majority of the match. The Atlanta, Georgia native suffered a hamstring injury and missed the previous three matches.
Although he was not present on the stat sheet, Washington made several defensive stops and played tight defense on his man throughout the match against the Wolverines.
Last Wednesday, the Red Foxes almost upset No. 15 Fordham, but the match resulted in a 1-1 draw. The match was stopped in the 27th minute for a lightning delay that lasted approximately an hour. Because of this, the first half was not offensively dominated by either team.
Goalkeeper Ryan Sinnott earned six saves, a season high for Marist and a career high. He did not face a single shot until late in the first half, due to the Red Foxes' successful defensive efforts.
Marist opened the scoring in the 61st minute when sophomore Allen Gavilanes broke up a pass from a Rams defender and headed it over their goalkeeper. Gavilanes finished the match with three shots — his goal counting as his only shot on goal.
Fordham would join Marist on the scoreboard shortly before the full 90 minutes, on an open shot drilled in by Janos Loebe.
The Red Foxes field the second toughest schedule, according to the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). Marist has played ranked teams such as then-No. 17 Pacific, who the Red Foxes shutout 1-0 in early September. The only other team with an RPI higher than Marist’s is No. 7 Louisville.
Rutgers' subs have made several plays off the bench that can help the team against Marist on Tuesday.
Sophomore forward Miles Franklyn had a shot against Hartford, on an offensive chance he created by intercepting a pass in the Hawks’ defensive zone. Also against Hartford, freshman midfielder Nick Cruz played 27 minutes as a sub and used his speed to setup some offensive possessions for the Knights.
A key for a Rutgers win would be to break open the scoring early in the first half, so that it does not have to play on its heels. The Knights’ opportunities against Michigan were off throw-ins and quality transition action. The team will have to play to that strength, to attack early and maintain a highly offensive game against the Red Foxes.
“Good teams capitalize on their opportunities,” said head coach Dan Donigan looking ahead to Tuesday’s match. “It’s little things that you can fix and make it better that will get you over the hump.”
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