With a last minute victory against Manhattan on Saturday night at Yurcak Field, the Rutgers men’s soccer team exceeded its win total from each of the last three seasons, remaining undefeated with a 5-0 record. In head coach Jim McElderry’s first season in charge, he has the program off to its best start since 1990.
The same duo that led Rutgers to a 2-1 victory over Binghamton last Tuesday struck again but this time at the very end of regulation. Sophomore Valentino Ambrosio, who had scored the winning goal off a rebound from a shot of the leg of freshman Jackson Temple, who had scored the first goal that night, connected in reverse on Saturday night.
Fellow freshman Jørgen Wisth Lie started the attack up the sideline, finding Ambrosio running towards the box, who then found Temple at the top, who finished with a shot inside the right post for the score!
Temple said about the play after the game, “I know I scored a goal, but the win was a team effort. We dominated in shots and we were pushing, pushing, pushing and we knew it was coming. When I had the chance, I was ready to take it.”
Another major storyline was starting goalkeeper Oren Asher exiting the game early in the first half due to feeling under the weather. UAB transfer James Neal entered the game and made four saves, producing a clean sheet in 79 minutes of action. It was the seventh shutout of the junior’s career, but first for Rutgers.
It was a strong game from Manhattan goalkeeper Marcellin Gohier as well, as the two-time MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year made nine saves to keep the Jaspers in it until the end.
Rutgers outshot the Jaspers 19-8 and held a decisive 18-1 edge with corner kicks.
After the game, first year head coach Jim McElderry said, “I was really proud of our group. I thought we really pushed to try and win the game. We just didn’t get that final pass, that final shot, for a majority of the game. I was proud of the way we kept pushing and also kept it tight at the back. I think Manhattan has some really talented guys so it’s not easy to keep them off the board.”
It’s clear that McElderry has quickly improved the talent and depth of the roster, but that the players have also fully bought into the new system and culture he and has his staff have established. It has produced a 5-0 start and a possible appearance in next week’s Top 25 poll.
The Scarlet Knights now head to Philadelphia for its third road game in that city this season, facing Penn (2-1) on Tuesday night, September 17th. The Quakers lost a 1-0 decision at no. 19 St. John’s on Friday.