Men’s Soccer Breaks Through Against VCU Before Falling to Princeton

Men’s Soccer may have fallen on Tuesday to Princeton but a massive win against VCU provided the points necessary for the defending champions to clinch a spot in this year’s A-10 tournament.


Flynn scored the winning goal against VCU to give the Rams a big push toward the A-10 Championship. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

With the regular season coming to its close, the Fordham men’s soccer team played two more matches in the past week against Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Princeton University.

The first match was against Atlantic 10 rival VCU. This was always going to be a close match, with six out of eight previous matchups either ending as a scoreless draw or a 1–0 scoreline. The entire game was a long, grueling battle and with time running out, a draw was on the cards. However, in the 89th minute, the deadlock was broken courtesy of sophomore defender Galen Flynn. Senior midfielder Paul Makaj threaded a pass to Flynn, who took it, made a move to the left past the VCU goalkeeper and passed the ball into the back of the net to give Fordham the lead. Flynn’s third goal of the season was enough to give the Rams a crucial win. Both Fordham and VCU had plenty of chances throughout the game, with VCU having a slight advantage with 12 shots to Fordham’s 10. While VCU had more shots, only one of them required a save from redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Nick Buchholz who picked up his first ever clean sheet as a Ram. This vital win means that they have already clinched a spot in the Atlantic 10 championship.

The second game had the Rams travel to New Jersey to face off against Princeton, marking the first time that these two teams faced off since their only other encounter back in 1989. Princeton won that meeting 5–1.

Princeton started off the scoring in the 21st minute. It originated from a corner kick that landed to Ryan Claire, whose shot was deflected by junior goalkeeper Callum James. However, the deflected shot fell to Francis Akomeah-Sirleaf, who scored the rebound to give the home team the lead. It took some time, but the Rams found the equalizer in the 35th minute. Sophomore midfielder Max Rogers had the ball on the left side of the pitch, crossed the ball into the box and found f graduate student defender Luke McNamara, who thumped it into the back of the net to make it one apiece.This was McNamara’s second goal of the season.

The stalemate only lasted for a short while before Princeton retook the lead in the 51st minute. An initial shot went off the crossbar and fell to the feet of Daniel Diaz Bonilla, who slotted it in to score the decisive goal. Fordham kept on attacking but was unable to find the equalizer. One of Fordham’s best chances was in the 87th minute, with graduate defender Matt Sloan passing it to Flynn inside the box, but it was denied by Princeton goalkeeper Sam Morton. Princeton held on to beat Fordham 2–1.

With this result, Fordham is now 6–9–1 with only one more game to play in the regular season. As stated before, Fordham has already qualified for the A-10 championships, but there is still a lot to play for. Their next and final regular season match is this Saturday at home against Saint Joseph’s University in another A-10 matchup. The season finale is also Senior Day for Fordham. Despite both of these teams being qualified for the championships, this match is still important for the Rams. If the Rams win, they are guaranteed a top four seed in the championships and home field advantage for the quarterfinals. The match is at 3 p.m. and can be viewed on ESPN+.