Men’s Soccer Holds Its Own Against Clemson in Overtime Loss

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Men’s Soccer Holds Its Own Against Clemson in Overtime Loss

Fordham Men's Soccer pushed Clemson to overtime on Tuesday, but the Tigers scored a game-winning goal to down the Rams. (MacKenzie Cranna/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham Men's Soccer pushed Clemson to overtime on Tuesday, but the Tigers scored a game-winning goal to down the Rams. (MacKenzie Cranna/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham Men's Soccer pushed Clemson to overtime on Tuesday, but the Tigers scored a game-winning goal to down the Rams. (MacKenzie Cranna/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham Men's Soccer pushed Clemson to overtime on Tuesday, but the Tigers scored a game-winning goal to down the Rams. (MacKenzie Cranna/The Fordham Ram)

Andrew Posadas, Assistant Sports Editor

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Fordham Men’s Soccer finally got its first win of the season at home against Holy Cross over the weekend, dominating the Crusaders en route to a 5–0 win. Four of the Rams’ five goals came from the defensive back line, with junior Luke McNamara and senior captain Joergen Oland putting in two goals each. Senior midfielder Bart Dziedzic added one more goal to cap off an offensive explosion Saturday night.

However, celebrating the first win this year did not last long for first year head coach Carlo Acquista and his squad. The Rams would have to move on from the win quickly considering their next opponent: the 7th ranked men’s soccer team in the nation, the Clemson Tigers.

The Tigers came into Tuesday’s matchup with Fordham averaging five goals per game, out-scoring its opponents 25–4 through five games so far this season.

Despite being outshot 11–3 in the first half, Fordham showed no signs of fear in a game most believed could manifest into a potential blowout. In fact, the Rams would strike first and put the Tigers on early notice that this game would be no walk in the park. Great passes by both Dziedzic and sophomore Jack Sluys led to a great finish off the foot of junior forward Sameer Fathazada in the 23rd minute, his first goal of the season.

The 1–0 deficit seemed to wake up Clemson’s offense immediately, as the Tigers mounted constant pressure on the Rams defense in its pursuit of the equalizing goal.

Fordham’s lead would last exactly 10 minutes, until Clemson midfielder Robbie Robinson tied up the game at one. Robinson did not stop his offensive onslaught there. Four minutes later, Robinson ripped a shot from outside the box, getting it just by the outstretched arms of grad student goalkeeper Konstantin Weis. Less than five minutes had gone by and suddenly, the Tigers looked exactly as good as advertised. Clemson took a 2–1 lead into halftime.

The second half saw the tempo get a bit slower and more methodical on Clemson’s end, happy to play defense to preserve its one-goal lead. Fordham was able to take a 5–4 advantage in shots, with its best chance in the 61st minute, a shot on goal by senior forward Johannes Pieles, saved by opposing goalkeeper Daniel Kuzemka.

Clemson still had full control of this game entering the 74th minute, when Sluys put a cross in the box for Fordham. It should have been an easy clearance for the Tigers back line defense.

However, miscommunication between Kuzemka and Clemson defender Malick Mbaye resulted in an unexpected own goal. The Rams had gotten its lucky break on the road, with a possible upset bid still very much in play for the visiting team.

Ninety minutes would not be enough for either squad. The momentum seemed to be in favor of Fordham heading into overtime considering Clemson’s defensive blunder. Unfortunately, the Tigers would lock down on both sides of the field in extra time.

Clemson held Fordham without a shot in the first overtime period, and looked to have secured the golden goal in the 97th minute, but its game-winning goal was called for offside. The Tigers were on the move two minutes later, when midfielder Alvaro Gomez took a shot from just inside the 18-yard box. Weis looked to have a relatively easy save on his hands, but the ball rolled right past him and into the back of the net.

The loss drops Fordham to 1–3–1 on the season, but the result should have coach Acquista and his team optimistic knowing they were competitive against a top-10 ranked team in the country.

Fordham men’s soccer is back in action this upcoming Saturday. The Rams host the La Salle Explorers as Atlantic-10 conference play officially gets underway.