Men’s Soccer Outruns URI in Thrilling A-10 Opener

Fordham+is+now+5-1-2+on+the+season%2C+and+the+team+won+its+Atlantic+10+conference+opener+with+a+win+over+Rhode+Island+on+Friday+night.+%28Julia+Comerford%2FThe+Fordham+Ram%29
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Men’s Soccer Outruns URI in Thrilling A-10 Opener

Fordham is now 5-1-2 on the season, and the team won its Atlantic 10 conference opener with a win over Rhode Island on Friday night. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham is now 5-1-2 on the season, and the team won its Atlantic 10 conference opener with a win over Rhode Island on Friday night. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham is now 5-1-2 on the season, and the team won its Atlantic 10 conference opener with a win over Rhode Island on Friday night. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham is now 5-1-2 on the season, and the team won its Atlantic 10 conference opener with a win over Rhode Island on Friday night. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

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By Andrew Posadas

Fordham is now 5-1-2 on the season, and the team won its Atlantic 10 conference opener with a win over Rhode Island on Friday night. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Coming off what head coach Jim McElderry admitted was a “weird game” last Friday against Columbia, the No. 25 Fordham men’s soccer team shifted its attention to conference rival Rhode Island as both squads opened Atlantic 10 play. The Fordham Rams came out victorious in an exciting 4-2 finish.

In the ninth minute, senior Janos Loebe ripped a free kick from 20 yards out. After Rhode Island’s goalkeeper stopped it, sophomore Sameer Fathazada capitalized on a rebound to give Fordham an early 1-0 lead.

However, while Fordham started off on a good note, the Rams’ pressure on offense left them vulnerable for fast-break counterattacks. Senior goalkeeper Rashid Nuhu was kept busy throughout the first half, even having to come out of the 18-yard box twice to halt URI’s shots on goal. Rhode Island eventually answered in the 29th minute with a corner kick, and not even Nuhu could get a glove on it.

Now tied at one apiece, play became chippy between both Ram teams, leading into a mini skirmish between players from both sides. With tempers flaring, this felt like a true rivalry game.

Then, a stellar through ball by sophomore Andron Kagramanyan to Loebe netted him his third goal of the season in the 43rd minute to end the half in Fordham’s favor, 2-1.

The fireworks continued into the second half. Just two minutes in, Rhode Island found their equalizer from a wicked shot outside of the 18-yard box. We had ourselves a tie game again. URI had seemingly dropped the proverbial gauntlet.

Loebe then took control of the second half, operating as the straw that stirred Fordham’s drink. After making a great run to the box, Janos flashed his passing vision. A back heel flick to Fathazada gave the Oral Roberts transfer his second goal of the night. Fathazada was fantastic, earning his Fordham stripes in spectacular fashion to give Fordham a 3-2 lead.

Rhode Island did not waver, keeping up with Fordham shot for shot. Their best chance to tie the game saw a shot get by Nuhu in net, only for junior defender Joergen Oland to come out of nowhere to deflect it with his knee. Nuhu and Oland continue to be two of the best defenders in the country. Just when it seemed URI might level the game, the defensive duo answered the call.

Oland’s defensive gem swayed the momentum towards Fordham’s side. The 81st minute saw Loebe find a familiar face on a corner kick: Joergen Oland. With his fourth goal this season, Oland continued to state his case as one of the most underrated two-way players in college soccer.

Fordham earned every bit of the 4-2 win, moving them to 5-1-2 on the season. For perspective: Rhode Island came in having conceded only one goal in seven games. The Rams offensive outburst to begin its A-10 schedule should bode well moving forward.

For Loebe, it earned him his third assist of the evening, capping of his best game this year and resulting in an A-10 Player of the Week nod. Fordham will be back in action Tuesday evening against fellow in-state school, Stony Brook.