By Shariq Marshall
On Sept. 23, the men’s soccer team faced off against the NJIT Highlanders (2-4-1) at home.Rider got off to a quick offensive start in the first half, with a goal 1:40 into the game. Senior forward Justin Veltri scored an off rebound goal assisted by sophomore forward Elliott Otmani.
Fast starts and ball possessions seem to be Rider’s game, according to Head Coach Charlie Inverso.
“Our game is a lot built on possessing the ball and moving it quick, trying to break the other team down,” he said. “We did that and got an early goal, which is always good.”
It was a defensive game during the rest of the first half as neither team scored a goal.
The second and final goal of the game did not occur until the middle of the second half (69:32). Junior midfielder Christian Flath scored by striking a direct kick from 23 yards out for the Broncs which put them up 2-0.
“We came back strong in the second half, scored another goal, didn’t give up any goals and played good defensively and offensively,” Flath said.
Junior goalkeeper David Pastuna played all 90 minutes of the game and gave up no goals with two saves. This was his first shutout of the season and his seventh at Rider.
The Broncs held this lead for the rest of the game and came out with a 2-0 victory over the Highlanders.
On Sept. 26, the men’s soccer team celebrated Alumni Day while competing in its first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game against Marist (3-5, 1-0 MAAC). It was a slow start for both teams from an offensive and defensive standpoint. Rider attempted only three shots in the first half and all were stopped by Marist.
The first goal of the game came unexpectedly with 39 seconds left in the first half and unfortunately it wasn’t the Broncs’. The first half ended with the Broncs behind 1-0.
Rider played with a bit more energy in the second half, attempting seven more shots than in the first, and all were defended. Late in the game, similar to the first unexpected goal, Marist scored with two minutes left in the game. This put the team up 2-0, which is how the game ended.
The win for the Red Foxes ended a four-year drought in which they could not beat the Broncs. The next game for men’s soccer is away against Saint Peter’s on Sept. 30 and following that, Rider will travel to Iona on Oct. 3.