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Jackson Temple nets game winner as Rutgers wins 5th straight

The Rutgers men's soccer team keeps on winning.

The Scarlet Knights (5-0) had already exceeded expectations this year and improved to 4-0 with a win over Binghamton on Tuesday. But a dull match exploded into life with a late goal from true freshman midfielder Jackson Temple, and Rutgers came away from Yurcak Field with a decisive 1-0 victory over Manhattan.

"I know I scored a goal, but the win was a team effort," Temple said. “We dominated in shots and we were pushing, pushing, pushing and we knew it was coming.”

The game took a surprising turn early, as true freshman goalkeeper Oren Asher had to leave the game in the 11th minute due to illness. Stepping in to relieve him was junior goalkeeper James Teal, who started last year at Alabama-Birmingham.

“Before the game, Oren wasn’t feeling well and tried to give it a go, but he just didn’t feel well,” said head coach Jim McElderry. “So we had spoken to (Teal) prior to that and we were ready to make that quick decision.”

Teal came up big for the Knights, recording four saves in 79 minutes of action to preserve the clean sheet.

“I thought (Teal) didn’t miss a beat,” McElderry said. He kicked well, made a couple of good saves, but most importantly just relaxed and enjoyed the moment.”

While Rutgers didn’t score until late in the game, you could make the case that this was the best overall game that Knights played. The game ran through the Rutgers midfield for much of the game, and the result was a decisive advantage in possession and shots.

“We just didn't get that final pass, that final shot, for a majority of the game," McElderry said. "I was proud of the way we kept pushing and also kept it tight at the back.”

Their persistence paid off in the 87th minute, when sophomore midfielder Valentino Ambrosio found Temple at the top of the 18-yard box. Temple rocketed a shot into the right corner to give the Knights a late lead.

The final few minutes saw some fireworks, as Temple took a hard challenge from behind while dribbling out the clock near the corner flag. Pushing and shoving ensued as both teams rushed to the corner. After a video review, the Jaspers' (0-3) Callum Carsley was shown a red card and Manhattan finished with 10 men.

“When a goal gets scored, we’re trying to run the clock out and they want to win the game, so it gets physical,” McElderry said. “I know (Carsley) got sent off there, he probably lost his head for a second, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

The win now gives Rutgers its fifth straight victory to start the season. The last Knights team to do that was in 1990, and went on to play in the national title game against UCLA. 

Rutgers will have the chance to extend the streak to six when it hits the road to take on UPenn on Tuesday night.

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

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