By Aidan Brager
After a 5-1-3 start to the season, Rider men’s soccer lost its second consecutive game, falling 5-3 to the Iona Gaels on Oct. 11.
The game couldn’t have kicked off worse for the Broncs, who gave up a penalty shot just three minutes into the game to go down 1-0.
Iona barely gave the Broncs a chance to catch their breath, knocking in a header off of a corner kick to make it 2-0 just a minute later.
“They hit us pretty hard pretty quick,” said Head Coach Chad Duernberger. “Credit to Iona, they came in with an energy ready to go that we struggled with.”
Despite the deficit, Rider wasn’t discouraged and the Broncs picked up the pressure, their effort paying off when they were awarded a penalty kick just moments after Iona’s second goal.
Senior forward Babacar Diene stepped up and finished the penalty, cutting the score to 2-1.
Diene emphasized the importance of chances like this as one of the team’s leading goal scorers.
“Everytime I go out to play, I give 100%,” said Diene.
Iona continued its rapid scoring, putting in another goal less than a minute later to go up 3-1.
“It’s a testament to them. When you score goals at the right time in games it’s a big blow to teams,” said Duernberger.
The constant goal scoring halted for some time, with both teams trading chances until the final minutes of the first half. Rider attempted to claw its way back into the game after an early deficit with an onslaught of corner kicks and shots.
Eventually, the Broncs earned a free kick. With five minutes left in the half, senior midfielder Adel Al Masude placed the ball beautifully from 25 yards out in the left corner to cut the deficit to one goal heading into halftime.
The start of the second half played out just as the end of the first did with both teams battling for chances.
The Gael’s tough defense translated to great offense, and in the 68th minute, a cross into the middle of the box found the back of the net, as Iona extended its lead to two with just 20 minutes remaining.
But three minutes later, Diene answered with his second goal of the game. Rider was hoping it could use this as momentum for a comeback, but it was to no avail; Rider wouldn’t score for the rest of the game.
The Gael’s scored in the 81st minute to ice the game. Rider ended up losing 5-3 in a matchup where they just couldn’t get ahead in 90 minutes.
The game was the Broncs’ second straight loss after an unbeaten streak that lasted more than a month.
“For us we just have to take care of games going forward, that’s it. And our guys know that,” said Duernberger.
The Broncs will travel to Buffalo, New York, on Oct. 18 to face Canisius. The match begins at 4 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+.