Men’s Soccer Looks to Overcome Sluggish Start


Fordham will rely on Pangrazzi (above) and its senior leadership to overcome their early losses. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Michael Hernandez, Assistant Sports Editor

The defending Atlantic 10 Conference champions have not had the best start to their season. After a 3-0 loss to Providence, the Rams’ next match was against the first ranked team, Georgetown. Georgetown breezed to a commanding 4-0 victory. Fordham only had nine shots with three on target while Georgetown doubled down with 20 shots, with nine of them on goal.

After the back-to-back losses on the road, it was time for the Ram’s home opener against Long Island University. Here the Rams played to a grueling 0-0 tie. In this match, Fordham took 15 shots; however, only one of them ended up on target. In addition to their total shots, they also had 11 corners. When asked about the scoreless draw which saw the team attack the goal without success, head coach Carlo Acquista said, “Any game where you have a chance to score and win a few times in the match is a lost opportunity.” 

However, when asked about the positives that came from the match, he praised his team’s ability to get into the opponent’s box. He also praised the team’s speed of play as well as being able to keep a clean sheet, the first of the season. When asked about the lack of goals in the season, he replied that goals come in bunches and that he was optimistic that sooner or later, it will start to “tilt our way.”

The Rams’ following match was against St. John’s University. Unfortunately, the Rams continued their winless streak in a narrow 1-0 defeat where, once again, Fordham had more shots than their opponent. In this match, Fordham recorded 12 shots with five of them on goal and nine corners. St. John’s scored the lone goal of the match 11 minutes into the game, as a couple of quick passes between Lucas Bartlett and Brandon Knapp found Andrew Bennett inside the box to give them the victory.

The next match for the Rams was against Fairleigh Dickinson University. Here, the team finally broke their recent form and took their first victory of the season in a tight 2-1 game. The Knights kicked off the scoring in the 13th minute of the first half off of a throw-in where Ideal Shefqeti blasted the ball into the back of the net for the early lead. 

Fordham quickly equalized in the 24th minute when sophomore Max Rodgers played a ball to graduate student Matt Sloan. Sloan then played it off for sophomore Galen Flynn who crossed it for graduate student Alberto Pangrazzi to slot it in for his and the team’s first goal of the season, In the 58th minute, Sloan and Pangrazzi linked up for the winning goal, with Pangrazzi crossing it for Sloan to strike the ball on the volley for his first goal of the season. The Knights pushed for the equalizer but were denied by two stops by redshirt sophomore Nick Bucholz, who came on at halftime to replace junior starter Callum James.

When asked about the first victory of the season, coach Acquista was excited but cautioned restraint since the season was just beginning. When asked if the team could use this win as a reset point, he replied, “we just take it one day and one match at a time. We have a good, experienced group. They understand the college soccer ups and downs.” When asked if the team could make it two wins a row against Manhattan, he replied with “winning two games in a row in any sport is no easy task, but I am confident that the boys will play well.”

The Rams’ streak was short-lived as in their next game against Manhattan, they lost 1-0 where once again, they outshot their opponents 17 to six and had four shots on goal in comparison to Manhattan’s one. The lone goal was in the 59th minute courtesy of Oswald Annang, who slotted their only shot on goal into the right side of the net.

Fordham’s record is now 1-4-1 after their first six games which is a stark contrast to last year where at this point they had five wins and one draw. Their next match is on Saturday at La Salle University. With the season only just getting started, there is still a lot to play for as the 2021 season continues.