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Rutgers looks for 1st win at home versus Northwestern

The Rutgers men’s soccer team hosts its second home match in three days, following a golden goal loss to Howard on Tuesday. 

The Scarlet Knights (2-9-1, 1-4-0) have an opportunity to capture a Yurcak Field win against a Big Ten opponent, as they host the Northwestern Wildcats (4-5-4, 0-3-2) for a Friday evening match. 

Rutgers is looking to end a three-match losing streak that started last Tuesday against Drexel. The team has given up 8 goals in the last week. 

The Knights’ last match against the Bison ended junior forward Jordan Hall’s three-match goal streak, a span that included his golden goal against Ohio State in Rutgers’ last win. 

Although he did not put up a point on the scoreboard on Tuesday, the Manchester, England native has been the catalyst for the offense. Hall leads the Big Ten in scoring with 9 goals on the season. He is also the conference leader in points (19) and is second in shots (39). 

With 3 minutes left in the second overtime, Howard’s Matteo Turner collected a rebound from a missed shot and sent the ball past senior goalkeeper Rafael Pereira, for the Bison's first win since Aug. 24. 

The Knights’ offense had more chances in regulation. Despite the loss in double overtime, they outshot the Bison, 16-11, with the majority of the 16 shots in the second half. 

Hall led the team with five shots. His best opportunity to put Rutgers on the scoreboard came in the 54th minute, when he hit the rebound from a cross from fifth-year senior forward Kyle Goodwin, but the goal was called offsides. 

Goodwin started his third match of the season and tallied a season-high three shots against Howard. The forward played 49 minutes, but he was able to find cutting teammates on several possessions. 

Head coach Dan Donigan has increased the minutes of several players, who have made their mark on the pitch. 

Sophomore forward Miles Franklyn started in place of fifth-year senior forward Miles Hackett, who did not play because he already earned five yellow cards on the season. 

Sophomore defender Vincent Borden was another player who saw more minutes. The Ithaca, N.Y. native made the starting 11 for the fourth time this season and played 71 minutes against the Bison.

Pereira leads the Big Ten with 44 saves. The Lisbon, Portugal native finished with four saves against Howard. With 10 minutes left in regulation, the Bison crowded the box and managed three shots, which were all turned away by Pereira. 

After missing time due to a hamstring injury earlier in the season, sophomore defender Bryce Washington played the majority of Tuesday’s match. He played a more offensive defender role, as he finished with two shots, 1 on goal, against Howard. Washington started several possessions and found several midfielders for open passes. 

The Knights are facing a Wildcats team that is winless in its last seven matches. Northwestern tied in-state rival DePaul 1-1 in double overtime, on Tuesday. 

Garrett Opperman scored the Wildats’ only goal in the 7th minute, off a bouncing ball from a cross. In total, players committed 33 fouls and were issued five yellow cards in a highly physical match. 

Although the Wildcats scored within the opening 10 minutes, it was the Blue Demons who controlled the first half. DePaul outshot Northwestern 10-3, capitalizing on an early fatigued defense. 

After halftime, it was the Wildcats who had the better opportunities. The first 10 minutes of the second half featured a string of corner kicks for the Big Ten school, where they managed to put pressure on the Blue Demon defense. In that time frame, Northwestern had five shots. 

Camden Buescher leads the Wildcats with 3 goals and 7 points. The midfielder came off the bench against DePaul and did not have a shot. He has not scored since a loss to Maryland on Sept. 14. 

A key for a Rutgers win would be to use Hall and the offense to attack Northwestern early. The Wildcats tend to heat up in the second half, as they had 10 shots against the Blue Demons in that period. Northwestern also has offensive surges through set piece plays, something that the Knights have improved on defending.

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

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