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Rutgers falls to Ohio State in Columbus

<p>Junior centerback Niel Guzman scored Rutgers' only goal in a 3-1 loss to Ohio State in Columbus Sunday.</p>

Junior centerback Niel Guzman scored Rutgers' only goal in a 3-1 loss to Ohio State in Columbus Sunday.

The Rutgers men’s soccer team fell to 0-6 on the season following a 3-1 loss to Ohio State on Sunday.

The Buckeyes (2-5) scored in the fifth minute to put the Scarlet Knights in a hole.

From there, it was all Ohio State, as it padded its early lead to 2-0 heading into halftime.

“I don’t know what the answer is,” said head coach Dan Donigan. “But we gave up an early goal again and against good teams in the Big Ten, you can't afford to do that. You just simply can't. It’s very important because it takes the wind out of your sail and puts wind in their sails. Those are very crucial goals to give away.”

Early in the second half, Rutgers' offense woke up.

Junior forward Ryan Peterson took a corner that found junior centerback Neil Guzman, who jumped in the air to put a header in the back of the net past the Ohio State keeper, which shrunk the Buckeyes lead to one.

But that would be all for the Knights as the Buckeyes' defense stunted all future opportunities that Rutgers tried to build up.

The Knights again struggled to build up an offense and create scoring chances.

In the 36th minute, junior forward Jason Wright broke open into the midfield, only to be met by three Buckeyes defenders, who forced his shot wide.

In the first half, Rutgers only accounted for two shots compared to the 11 Ohio State produced. 

The Knights attempted another five shots in the second half to make their total seven, but none were able to make it past the goal line.

Guzman said that allowing easy goals is something the team needs to work on.

“I think we have difficulty being on the same page with one and other,” Guzman said. “In our past five games, all the games except Michigan State, we’ve given a goal in the first five minutes so it's really putting in the work in the first and last five minutes of each half is something we need to work on.”

Although the team conceded three goals, senior keeper David Greczek managed to make five saves that prevented the game from being completely out of reach.

And while Greczek kept Rutgers in the game, Donigan would like to see him communicating with his team more.

“David was very good,” Donigan said. “I still would like to see him continue to communicate and organize his back line, but we’re always expecting more and more and more no matter what the performance is, but he made some big time saves that keep us in the match”.

The Knights had one more strong attempt in the 72nd minute with a memorable shot that wasn't able to find its way past the goal line, and instead hit the goal post, which kept the score 3-1.

Constant inconsistencies between games are starting to become a trend for Rutgers.

“I mean we were on point pretty well on Tuesday against Maryland. Defensively, we were very good, I thought we would be able to generate some offense. But today, (there were) overall inconsistencies, a lack of energy, a lack of urgency defensively and offensively, there just wasn’t a pride or passion to play the game we’re capable of playing," Donigan said of the match.

The Knights continue their tough schedule on Friday as they host No. 3 Indiana.

The Hoosiers (4-0-3) are coming off a 0-0 tie to Northwestern but previously defeated two top 25 teams in No. 22 California and No. 5 Stanford.

The one thing that Rutgers will have to figure out is how to get back on the same page for the next games, Guzman said. 

“I know some players aren’t playing to their abilities right now," he said. "But we basically need to start gelling as a team.”

For updates on the Rutgers men's soccer team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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