The Ramapo Roadrunners men’s soccer team were defeated by the Rutgers-Newark Scarlet Raiders by a score of 1-0 in Brick City on Wednesday night. The defeat brings Ramapo to a 7-8 overall record on the season as Rutgers-Newark currently sits at a very impressive 15-1.
Dark clouds generated sporadic scattered showers over Alumni Field as the Roadrunners looked to build momentum in the final stretch of the season and gain some ground on New Jersey Athletic Conference leading Scarlet Raiders. Rutgers-Newark entered the game red-hot with a perfect 5-0 NJAC record and their star striker, sophomore Fabio De Sousa, leading the conference in points with 13 goals and 4 assists.
It was an inauspicious beginning for Ramapo as they allowed Rutgers-Newark to work the ball down the right flank, leading to a cross from senior midfielder Hubert Dul and a one time finish from the danger-man, De Sousa in just the third minute of the match. Coach Pinton is well aware of the quality that De Sousa brings and tried to prepare his team to contain the in-form goal scorer.
“We spoke extensively about [De Sousa’s] abilities and tendencies and the importance of limiting his chances,” Pinton said. “He obviously got the early goal but the team responded really well.”
The Roadrunners accepted their early misfortune with equanimity and were dauntless in their response as they immediately started to attack the Scarlet Raiders with relentless pressure. Ramapo’s freshman midfielder, Antony Williams, had The Roadrunners best chance of the half as he smacked a purposeful shot inside the left post, only to be met by a diving save from Rutgers-Newark sophomore goalkeeper, Andres Medina, in the 8th minute. Ramapo’s hunt for an equalizer fostered a fast paced back-and-forth as the teams took a combined 12 shots and committed a reckless nine fouls to finish the first half.
The Scarlet Raiders began to dominate possession early on in the second half and were very much looking like a team who is cruising through the NJAC with relative ease. Ramapo remained resilient and showed considerable maturity as they withstood and survived an onslaught of successive chances from De Sousa and junior midfielder Breno Lustosa. The main issue for Ramapo was their inability to find any real time on the ball or space to create as they were held to a paltry three shots in the second half. The Roadrunners spent most of their energy defending waves of attack and were often left scrambling to advance the ball into threatening positions. One goal would be enough to see Rutgers-Newark advance to a perfect 6-0 in the NJAC and remain firmly in first place.
Pinton was brief but comprehensive. “We played toe-to-toe with the top team in the conference,” he said when asked about his thoughts on his team’s performance tonight. Unfortunately, all four of Rampo’s NJAC losses have been a one-goal difference including two games that went to overtime.
Ramapo is back on the road this Saturday, October 14 at 2 p.m., as they travel to Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field (Jersey City, NJ) to clash with last place New Jersey City University in what has become a must-win game if they are to have any chance at making the playoffs.