Fordham Men’s Soccer took on Fairleigh Dickinson this past Friday, April 15th at Murphy Field. Coach Jim McElderry’s team had previously played LIU Brooklyn and Adelphi this spring, picking up a draw and a win, respectively. The Rams were looking to keep their undefeated season going.
The game started off with both teams trying to gain control of the midfield. A couple of half chances tested both defenses; however, both sides managed to resist the attack. A lot of the touches in the midfield went to sophomore Eric Ohlendorf and junior Ole Sandnes, who helped Fordham gain the upper hand in terms of possession. The Rams continued to move the ball wide, trying to find gaps to penetrate the Fairleigh Dickinson defense.
The hard work paid off midway through the first half when sophomore Jannik Loebe took a good touch towards the center of the field and saw his brother, freshman Janos Loebe, making a diagonal run from the right side. Jannik played a ball over the top and Janos’ first touch took the goalie out of the equation, which led him to calmly tapping the ball in for the opening goal.
From that point on, Fordham controlled the tempo of the game. Aside from a couple of good saves in the opening minutes, Fordham’s goalie, freshman Rashid Nuhu, did not have much to do in the first half, mostly thanks to a well-managed back line.
The second goal of the match came towards the end of the first half. Junior Cole Stevenson picked off a sloppy pass from the FLD defense close to the top of the 18-yard box. He then placed a shot to the bottom right of the goal, leaving the goalie completely still. The first half ended with Fordham leading Fairleigh Dickinson 2-0.
Fairleigh Dickinson looked much better at the start of the second half. The Rams appeared to be uncomfortable in the opening minutes; however, the defense once again passed the test. Sophomore Jordan Black, the second half goalie, came on for Nuhu and looked comfortable in the net, making good saves early on.
The third goal of the game came eight minutes into the second half. Fordham effectively built up the play when sophomore Mateo Gowland dribbled through the middle of the field, dishing the ball out towards the flanks where Janos Loebe was waiting. This time, the younger brother returned the favor and crossed it into the middle, where Jannik was waiting for the tap in.
Half way through the second half, a sloppy giveaway from the Fordham defense allowed a Fairleigh Dickinson forward to break away, but Black was there to make a key save. He came out quick and gathered the ball before the opponent could shoot. Seconds later, the Rams hit FLD on a counter attack that led to their fourth goal of the game. Janos played into the box as the goalie came out. Janos then touched it around the oncoming keeper and scored.
Fordham continued to dominate possession in the second half. Although FLD occasionally tested them, the Rams continued to control the game with their defense. The final goal of the night came in the last 15 minutes. Good build-up play led to the Rams receiving a free kick 25 yards out. Janos stepped up and rifled it into the top right corner to make the final score 5-0.
The team saw out the rest of the game and earned the victory, along with a clean sheet. Coach McElderry was pleased with his team’s performance. ”I thought we played well on Friday,” he said. “FDU are a team that lost a lot of players this past year, and because of that we were a more talented team. I also thought our team passed the ball well, tried to play out of the back and control the tempo of the match.”
The team’s success is a reflection of how hard they have been working this spring. Sophomore Matt Lewis, believes that their preparation this spring has been helping the team develop. “I think in our practice there has been a lot of intensity,” he said. “Everybody’s looking to get on the field so the low numbers we have, I think, is really improving our preparation.”
Coach McElderry is pleased with the players’ work rate this spring, “I have been really happy with the team this spring,” he said. “The boys have put a lot of time in the weight room and on the field this spring. We have worked hard to progress as a group on both sides of the ball. We have a strong core group of players that are pushing the entire team. It has been a good spring season so far.”
After a convincing game and positive results from the previous three games, the future seems bright for this Fordham team. This upcoming fall, the team will rely on their current squad for leadership. Coach McElderry’s finals thoughts for this upcoming season were, “I have very high expectations for the group. We have talent and they are committed to being a strong team. They are willing to put in the time and sacrifice for the success of the team. I am looking forward to the fall season with these guys.”
The men’s soccer team will take on Marist this upcoming Friday, April 22nd at 7:30 p.m. at Murphy Field.