The Rutgers men’s soccer team began its 2019 campaign in Philadelphia on Thursday night, marking the debut of new head coach Jim McElderry. The Scarlet Knights produced a dramatic 1-0 victory over Temple, as a pair of freshman stepped up in crucial moments of the game.
After a scoreless first half, Rutgers took the lead in the 51st minute on a penalty kick. Chris Tiao was tripped inside the box, which opened the door for classmate and Norwegian Jorgen Wisth Lie, who came through to score what amounted to be the winning goal. Later on, goalkeeper Oren Asher, a freshman from Israel, made a save on a penalty kick in the 89th minute to preserve the win and shutout.
Temple applied a lot of pressure to the Rutgers defense, as they held a 15-7 advantage in shots and 6-2 in corner kicks. However, the Scarlet Knights held firm and Asher produced five saves on the night.
On winning his first game in charge on the banks, McElderry had this to say afterwards:
“I thought it was a pretty typical, tight college soccer game at the beginning of the year in terms of both teams trying to figure how they want to play and what roles are on the teams. We had a few guys who didn’t play tonight that could still play big roles on the team. I’m really happy with the commitment level our guys have shown all throughout preseason and the way they battled and did not concede a goal against a good Temple team.”
Rutgers won the season opener for the first time since 2015, which is also the last time they went to the NCAA Tournament. While the Scarlet Knights would far exceed expectations if they got back there this season, a win to open the season was a nice step in the right direction during McElderry’s first game.
They are back on the road in Philly on Tuesday against Drexel at 6 p.m.
To read our extensive interview with McElderry in our season preview, click here.