Men’s Soccer Beats Saint Louis in Regular Season Finale

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Fordham Men’s Soccer heads into the A-10 playoffs on a high note. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Andrew Posadas, Assistant Sports Editor

Going into its matchup over the weekend against Saint Louis University, Fordham Men’s Soccer knew it had already clinched a berth in the Atlantic 10 Championship. What remained uncertain for Head Coach Carlo Acquista and his team was where they would end up seeded going into the tournament. In order to earn a top-four seed and the right to host a quarterfinal match, the Rams needed a win Saturday along with some help from other A-10 results.

At best, Fordham could still finish as high as the third seed. However, the Billikens had just as much to play for, considering the team was in position to earn the top seed in the Championship with a win against the Rams. Saturday marked the 11th meeting all time between Fordham and Saint Louis, with the Billikens holding a 7-3 edge in the series.

Despite being on the road in a hostile environment, Fordham rose to the challenge by controlling possession in the first 25 minutes of regulation. The Rams were able to get off five shots in that span, including two great chances by senior forward Johannes Pieles. Fortunately for Saint Louis, goalkeeper Patrick Schulte looked up for the task as he came up with crucial saves early on.

The Rams aggression on offense would finally pay off in the 34th minute. Saint Louis tried clearing the ball near the top of its own 18-yard box, but freshman midfielder Adrian Valentine had other ideas. Valentine was able to deflect the clearance, and the ball ended up on the foot of graduate student forward Tomer Zloczower. Zloczower wasted little time, ripping a shot inside the right post and past Schulte, for his first goal of the season to give Fordham a 1–0 lead.

Coming out of halftime, Saint Louis looked poised to turn the tables on Fordham and show some offensive aggression of its own. The Billikens outshot the Rams 12-2 in the second period, giving captain senior defender Joergen Oland and his defensive back line all they could handle for 45 minutes. 

The Rams needed a stellar performance in goal, and graduate student Konstantin Weis delivered by having arguably his best match of the season. Weis came up with four critical saves in the second half, not to mention perhaps the biggest save of the entire match. In the 88th minute, Saint Louis midfielder Matteo Kidd looked to have the equalizer when his shot seemed destined to sneak inside the right post. However, Weis made an incredible diving save to deny Kidd and preserve Fordham’s lead.

Nearly 45 seconds later, Zloczower used great individual effort to add an insurance goal for the Rams, ensuring its biggest road victory of the season. The win improved Fordham to 5-2-1 in the A-10, earning them the fifth seed in the championship.

The bad news is that Fordham now has to play its upcoming quarterfinal match this weekend on the road. The good news is the Rams opponent is the same team they just defeated in Saint Louis. Beating a team twice on their home field is no easy task, but the Rams will have incredible motivation to do so, knowing that this year’s A-10 Championship is being held at Jack Coffey Field. 

Fordham Men’s Soccer is back in action on Saturday afternoon, going on the road again to face Saint Louis, this time in an A-10 quarterfinal matchup. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. and can be seen exclusively on ESPN+.