By Trey Wright
Coming off of an eight-day break from competition, Rider men’s soccer returned to action and looked to ignite the start of a winning streak in its Sept. 22 matchup against the Fordham Rams (2-4-1). The Broncs did just that, securing an exhilarating 4-3 win in their last non-conference matchup of 2021.
While the Rams took the opening kickoff, Rider came rocketing out of the gate early in the first minute, when a shot from sophomore midfielder Adel Al-Masude was mishandled by the Fordham goalkeeper, giving the Broncs a very early 1-0 lead.
“When you get a goal in the first minute you thank your lucky stars,” said Head Coach Charles Inverso.
The next 44 minutes were quite uneventful, with Rider still leading by a goal at the halftime horn, and the shots equal at one apiece.
However, the second half was an absolutely different beast. In the 48th minute, junior goaltender Guillaume Veinante made a point-blank save on a Fordham shot, but a minute later, the Rams scored on a crucial penalty kick that tied the game, making the score 1-1.
“It’s disheartening, because we made that foul from a bad angle,” said Inverso.
From this point forward, the final 40 minutes of play would become a scoring derby, complemented by physical play from both teams.
In the 54th minute, Al-Masude answered the bell with his second goal of the game, a header to put the Broncs ahead 2-1.
However, Fordham answered right back three minutes later, taking advantage of a Rider defensive miscommunication to tie the game for a second time.
Just six minutes later, Broncs graduate student defender Ty Moore scored his first collegiate goal, once again giving Rider the lead. With 26 minutes left in the match, Al-Masude, looking for his third goal of the night, was tripped inside the box. The Broncs were unlucky to not receive a penalty kick.
“[We] felt the ref wasn’t really with us tonight,” Al-Masude said.
This incident, along with more physical play, led to a shoving match near the spectators, similar to the previous game against Stony Brook.
“It’s soccer,” said Inverso, “You’re talking about athletic guys in what’s basically a major contact sport and all in all I thought we handled it pretty well.”
Fordham, once again, took advantage of another defensive miscommunication by the Broncs, which tied the game up at 3-3 in the 79th minute.
But thanks to a crucial assist from Moore, graduate student midfielder Taner Bay gave the Broncs a 4-3 lead, and that is the way it stayed when the final horn sounded.
“This team has been working hard all season, and we’ve had a little bit of a roller coaster,” Moore, a transfer from national powerhouse Wake Forest, said after the match. “I was feeding off of my teammates’ energy, fighting for them while they were fighting for me. We were trying to do anything to win the game.”
“These guys had to fight back like three times, but this is a great win for us, as this is an excellent program from Fordham,” Inverso said. “We have to be better at preserving the lead, and can’t lead the gaps in the back like we did.”
Al-Masude would be named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Men’s Soccer Rookie of the Week on Sept. 27 after his two goal performance.
“I’m happy to help the team get this win. It was a tough game,” said Al-Masude.
After a tough non-conference slate, the Broncs, with a record of 3-3-1, open up MAAC play on Sept. 29 at Ben Cohen Field against Monmouth (2-2-2).