Rams Open 2012 Season with a 1-0 Loss at Rutgers
Aug. 25, 2012
Piscataway, N.J. - It was a new look Rams team that took the pitch at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey against Rutgers for the 2012 season opener on Friday, August 24, and the Scarlet Knights came away with a 1-0 victory. Fordham had five first-time starters take the field as Sean Brailey joined Ryan Cupolo, Ollie Kelly, Kalle Sotka and Kyle Bitterman to begin the game. Tommy Granot, Ryan Walsh and Mike McNamara also saw their first action at Fordham as substitutes.
Rutgers' forward JP Correa tested Brailey in the opening minute as he took a pass in the middle of the penalty area and blasted a shot to Brailey's left, forcing the keeper to dive to his left to parry the ball aside. Less than a minute later, Mike Soboff blasted a hard, low shot to the left side of the box, but Brailey gathered that in as well.
The Scarlet Knights jumped out to the 1-0 lead in the sixth minute as Brailey stopped the initial shot from a Mael Corboz free kick outside the 18 yard box, but the rebound found the foot of Mitchell Taintor who flicked the ball through traffic into the back of the net.
The Rams' first scoring chance came in the 13th minute as Hermann Trophy Watchlist candidate Nathaniel Bekoe lifted a long ball down the left side for Kalle Sotka, but Sotka was dispossessed by Taintor before he could take a shot. The Scarlet Knights took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
In the 51st minute, Fordham nearly found the equalizer as Bitterman played the ball forward for Sotka in the box where he was taken down by the goalie, Kevin McMullen, who was shown the yellow card, giving the Rams a penalty kick. On the ensuing penalty, Sotka's attempt was turned aside by McMullen, who also saved the rebound blast by Bekoe, and Rutgers held on to a 1-0 advantage.
The Fordham defense came up big in the 75th minute as Zac Gomez put a header past Brailey and towards the net, but Ryan Cupolo slid into the backline to deflect the ball away from danger and keep the deficit at one goal.
The Rams nearly tied the game again in the 80th minute as Michael Stalker came forward from his defensive position and blasted a volley at the top of the goal. McMullen was once again up to the challenge as he deflected the shot over the bar. Less than a minute later, Bitterman found Taylor Gulbins on a scramble in front of the net, where Gulbins deflected the Bitterman try past the keeper, but the equalizer was overturned because Gulbins was ruled offside.
Fordham had a third scoring opportunity in the 84th minute as Julian Nagel blasted a shot from about 25 yards out, and McMullen preserved the 1-0 lead with a save. The Scarlet Knights held on for the 1-0 win. The Rams had eight players see their first game action on Friday, led by Brailey, who made five saves for Fordham. Sotka took two shots in the game. Fordham is now 4-8 in the all-time series with Rutgers.
Fordham returns action on Sunday, August 26, when they host Adelphi in the 2012 home opener. The kickoff from Jack Coffey Field is scheduled for 1:00 PM.