By Trey Wright
Starting off the 2022 season with an abysmal 0-3 record, Rider men’s soccer was thwarted once again, losing its fifth consecutive game via a 2-1 defeat in a road affair against in-state juggernaut Rutgers on Sept. 9.
The Scarlet Knights came into the first half firing on all cylinders, putting five shots on Broncs goaltender Guillaume Veinante, two of them sailing into the net within two minutes of one another.
“We played [Rutgers] pretty tough and really competed,” said Rider Head Coach Charlie Inverso, “We always compete, but Friday night we competed for longer stretches of the match.”
The Broncs responded early in the second half with a goal from junior midfielder Adel Al-Masude off a free kick in the 51st minute to cut the Scarlet Knights’ lead in half.
“Adel (Al-Masude)’s free kick felt like having Christian Flath back,” said Inverso.
Flath, a three time First Team All-MAAC and 2013 MAAC Rookie of the Year midfielder, played for Rider from 2012 to 2016 and helped lead the Broncs to a 2016 MAAC Championship.
Time would run out for the Broncs who fell just short of their first victory of the season, remaining winless throughout the first four games.
“God, we fought hard tonight, but it still hurts to lose this one,” said Inverso.
With only two goals and a mere 24 shots made in the span of four matches, offensive failures were a glaring issue for Rider in the first set of games, with the struggles being further compounded by the injury of graduate student forward Zaki Alibou, the 2021 MAAC Offensive Player of the Year.
Alibou returned against Rutgers after being out the two previous games due to the injury, but did not play the full 60 minutes.
“We have no timeline for his return,” said Inverso.
Seeking an inaugural win of the season, the Broncs trek up to Central Connecticut (2-3) Wednesday for their final match of the season-opening road trip, prior to facing off against NJIT for the home opener on Sept. 18 at Ben Cohen Field.
Check out more photos: Photo Gallery: Rider men’s soccer vs. Rutgers – September 9, 2022