y Brandon Ferris
The men’s soccer team won its fourth road game in a row this past weekend. Coming off a 3-1 win against in-conference rival Manhattan, the Broncs traveled to Fairfield on Oct. 24, where they were victorious in a 3-0 shutout, thanks to a two-goal performance from junior midfielder Christian Flath.
Senior forward Justin Veltri scored the game’s first goal for Rider (10-4-1, 5-2-1 MAAC) at the 22-minute mark after a cross from junior back Rob Nardiello. Veltri was able to get his head on the ball in front of the goal to grant the Broncs a 1-0 lead. This was Veltri’s fourth goal of the season and Nardiello’s first assist of the game.
“It felt good scoring the first goal,” Veltri said. “It seemed that after we scored, everyone was calm and we didn’t have any problems from there on out.”
Nardiello’s day, however, was not done after that. Flath scored the Broncs’ second goal of the game at the 51-minute mark after another assist from Nardiello. The assist came after Nardiello crossed the ball in front of the goal from the far post.
Flath then scored on a penalty kick in the 54th minute, giving him his first multi-goal game of the season and the fourth of his career. Flath also won the MAAC Offensive Player of the Week honor.
Senior goalkeeper Ryan Baird got the start for the Broncs against Fairfield on Oct. 24. Baird had an excellent game with five saves, recording a shutout for Rider.
The Stags (4-5-6, 3-3-2 MAAC) had nine total shots while the Broncs only had seven. Seven of those nine came in the second half, forcing Baird to make four saves. He improved his record this year to an impressive 7-1 after his shutout victory.
“It’s a great feeling to get a shutout on the road against the always-difficult team that Fairfield is,” Baird said. “This season we have been a great road team which was something we strived for in the beginning of the season.”
The Broncs have been committed to playing well on the road this season, posting a 6-2 record away from Ben Cohen Field.
“It was a good win for us against Fairfield,” Veltri said. “Everything seems to be coming together now and it’s a great time for that. Winning on the road is great for us because we struggled with that last year. The MAAC tournament is in Florida this year, so playing well away should translate to playing well down there.”
The Broncs only have two more games this season before the MAAC tournament. Baird loves how his team is finally coming together this season.
“We struggled early in the season and finally we are hitting our peak right as we get closer to our conference tournament,” Baird said. “We have been beating some great teams this season and have been streaking. We’ve felt all year that we had the potential to beat anyone so now it’s time to take that next step and show what we can do.”
The Broncs lost a few games in early September, but have not lost a game since Sept. 30. The Broncs will look to improve their record against Canisius in a home matchup Oct. 28.