The Rutgers men’s soccer team came away with another gutty victory on Tuesday night, holding off Binghamton (1-3) in a back and forth contest to win the home opener 3-2. The two teams traded goals early on until the Scarlet Knights scored with 1 second remaining in the first half to take the lead for good.
The action began quickly, as sophomore Thomas DeVizio’s corner kick found junior Vince Borden, who finished on a header to give Rutgers an early lead in just the second minute of the game.
Noah Luescher evened the score for Binghamton in the 23rd minute, scoring from the top of the 18 yard box on a shot that found the net inside the left post.
A pair of freshmen helped the Scarlet Knights regain control, as Chris Tiao attacked down the left side, finding Jackson Temple, who scored the second goal of his season from about 6 six yards out in the 30th minute of the game. It was the first assist in Tiao’s Rutgers career.
After the visitors tied it again on a goal from Dan Mansfield in the 34th minute, Rutgers took the lead for good soon after. Temple forced the action once again. His shot was deflected by Binghamton goalkeeper Mats Roorda, which sophomore Pablo Avila, making his first start of the season, gathered it and followed with a shot from just outside the 18 that hit the back of the net on the right side. It came right before the halftime whistle, giving Rutgers a 3-2 lead they never relinquished.
Count It!!— Rutgers Men's Soccer (@RUMensSoccer) September 11, 2019
Pablo Avila picks the perfect time for his first career goal, blasting in the volley as the clock strikes zero for halftime!#RFUTBOL takes a 3-2 lead at the break!#GoRU ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/eDtr2C0SPd
The teams played a scoreless second half, despite combining for 13 shots. Overall, Rutgers outshot Binghamton 15-13 in the game and held a 6-3 advantage with corner kicks.
Rutgers freshman goalkeeper Oren Asher finished the game with a career high 7 saves.
On his winning goal, Ávila said “when I shot, I only saw the ball going towards goal and it went in. Scoring at the last second is a great feeling. We feel really good as team, we feel like a family and that’s the most important thing. We have to keep moving on and improve some things and that’s how we’ll win.”
First year head coach Jim McElderry was pleased with his team’s effort, but was quick to point out that despite the victory, the team needs to continue to improve if they want continued success.
”I thought going forward we played with some urgency and Binghamton was able to bounce back from us scoring early. We had some guys out there playing at a good pace. We’ve got to get the right balance. We scored three goals which was great, but we also conceded two goals, so we have some work to do. I’m really happy with how our guys competed in the second half, which seems to be a common theme for us right now. Can they really grind out results and so far, so good. We need to play better if we want to be a top team.”
Rutgers is now 4-0 on the season, the program’s best start since 1996. Even so, they haven’t played their best soccer yet. They’ve been fortunate at times, but this team’s consistent effort and willingness to play together have been the key to their success so far. Amazingly, they’ve already matched last season’s win total in 14 less games played. The turnaround so far under McElderry has been significant in his first season in charge.
The Scarlet Knights are starting to receive national attention, as they received 28 votes in Tuesday’s United Coaches Poll, placing them three spots outside the Top 25. They’ll next face Manhattan (0-2) at Yurcak Field on Saturday, September 14th at 7 p.m. ET.
(Note: In addition to the three goals, watch several key saves from Asher in the video below as well.)