Men’s Soccer Holds On For A Tie Against UMass

The Rams rallied in the 89th minute to tie the Minutemen. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

The Rams rallied in the 89th minute to tie the Minutemen. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

The Fordham men’s soccer team drew for a sixth time this season after a 2-2 draw against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (UMass) last week. The Rams remain undefeated in Atlantic 10 play so far, thanks to a late goal in the 89th minute from graduate student Jakob Gesien.

In a game that saw four fantastic goals, Fordham was forced to alter their tactics from previous games. With senior right back Adrian Valentine unavailable due to injury, Fordham head coach Carlo Aquista shifted to a three-at-the-back system, with junior Sebastian Fabrin moving from midfield to center back alongside senior Conrado Duhour and graduate student Jack Sluys.

UMass got off to a quick start, scoring in the eighth minute. Sophomore Andrew Ortiz got the ball to senior Evan Fournier outside of the box, who ripped an unbelievable shot into the upper right corner with the outside of his left foot, his third of the year. Fournier continued to be a thorn in the Rams’ side throughout the game.

In the 30th minute, Fordham came back with a vengeance. First, graduate student goalkeeper Demetri Skoumbakis started off the play with a long punt, and junior Florian Deletioglu was there to head the ball forward to graduate student Daniel Espeleta who pulled away on a breakaway.

One-on-one against Minutemen goalkeeper Matt Zambetti, it was Espeleta who won the battle, slotting the ball right past him for his second goal in two games.
From then on, all would be quiet until the 75th minute when Fournier set up a dangerous play against the Rams. He played it through to sophomore Shizu Yohena, who took a rocket of a shot outside the 18-yard box over Skoumbakis and into the upper right corner, just under the crossbar.

Looking for an equalizer, Coach Aquista pulled out all the cards he had available. Graduate student Timo Hummrich, who normally plays left back, was enlisted to help the attack. Sophomore Owen Hardy appeared for the second time this season, using his 6’5’’ to try and disrupt the UMass defense.

The Rams battled it out for a last minute rally relentlessly, and they got their opportunity in the 89th minute of the game. In a failed attempt that was deflected by a UMass defender, Gesien fought to a loose ball outside the box. With his left foot, he rifled a shot from distance off the post behind Zambetti and just over the goal line. Gesien saved the game for Fordham, as well as netting his first goal as a Ram.

While Fordham was on the ropes in the second half, they still managed to outshoot the Minutemen through the first and second half 15-12. Both keepers saved four attempts, with a majority of the action coming in the first half. It was a foul heavy game with both teams in the double digits, with the Rams being slightly more aggressive.

Currently, the Rams sit at 3-1-6 overall and 1-0-2 in A-10 play. Their six ties this season are due in large part to the elimination of overtime by the NCAA at the start of this season. Now, every match that is level after 90 minutes ends in a draw instead of heading to overtime where a victor would be decided.

Seeking to win their next matchup, the Rams will travel to Davidson, N.C. to face off against Davidson College for another A-10 matchup on Wednesday, Oct. 5. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.