There did not appear to be any love lost between the Rider University Broncs and the Pirates on Friday night during the men’s soccer team’s home opener at Owen T. Carroll field.
The Pirates fought hard in a heart-racing game that saw them lose 2-1 in the final minute. The stands were filled, with a big showing from the Rider community as well, as the Pirates battled in a gutsy match up.
They were the first to score in the 24th minute. Junior midfielder Samuel Geiler came to life and made a move deep in the opponent’s box to get the Pirates off to an early lead. The offense had some synergy, producing four shots to Rider’s two in the first half and frustrating the opposition all night by holding several meaningful possessions. Though not every drive ended in a scoring opportunity – the confidence – the chances were there.
The second half saw Rider come out with a purpose. The pressure was on, but the Hall made their lone goal count as they played inspired defense for almost the rest of the game.
Late in the final 10 minutes the Pirates had several failed shots on goal from near point blank range, but Rider produced a goal in the 86th minute by Florian Valot. With tensions high, Rider’s Justin Veltri was then able to score a game winning goal in the 89th minute off a corner kick.
Head coach Gerson Echeverry said he would have liked to have seen his guys exploit the Broncos a bit more in what ended up being a rough and tough contest.
“We wanted to be able to move the ball around, to be able to expose them with us moving the ball,’ he said. “We did that at certain times, but for the most part we couldn’t. The game became a physical battle, which they won. We wound up making some silly mistakes that cost us.”
The men will follow up their home opening loss with another bout in South Orange on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The Hall will host Delaware. Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m.