Men’s College Soccer
Rider University 2, Bryant University 1
SMITHFIELD, RI— Fall in New England. The glorious foliage as the leaves begin to change from green to a kaleidoscope of colors. The air is crisp and cool – perfect for soccer games.
“The warm weather definitely played a huge factor (in our loss) last game but today was beautiful,” said freshman Zach Bond, who scored his first collegiate goal, leading Rider to victory over Bryant University Sunday afternoon. “It was a good day for me. I felt good and when the conditions are good we’re on our game.”
On Sunday afternoon, playing in the smallest state with the longest name, “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” as it is officially referred to, the conditions were good.
“It was a great win,” said Rider head coach Charlie Inverso. “Bryant took (20th ranked) Brown to a 1-0 game. For our young guys to go on the road and get a win, that’s big. It is so much harder to win on the road.”
At one point the young Broncs had eight freshmen on the field, including Bond.
Bond (Holmdel, NJ) took a long, 30 yard pass from freshman Adrien Huss (Madrid, Spain) and scored his first collegiate goal from 12 yards out to give Rider a 2-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half.
“It’s been a while since I’ve scored,” Bond said. “It felt great to do it with this team. Adrien played a beautiful ball over the top and I was able to get a head on it and out-run the defender. I saw the keeper shuffling and I was able to put it past him.”
“Zach scored the game-winner but he could have had another one that gave us a 3-1 lead,” Inverso said. “And Adrien was really, really good.”
For Rider (3-1) freshman Christian Flath (Bargeshagen, Germany) scored on a direct kick from 20 yards out to give Rider a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute of play, bending his shot around the wall.
The goal was Flath’s team-high third of the season. “Christian had a great goal,” Inverso said.
Rider freshman goalkeeper David Pastuna (Robbinsville, NJ) made his first collegiate start and made four saves. “Dave played a good game,” Inverso said.
Bryant cut the lead to 2-1 with 22 minutes remaining with a header goal when Pastuna came out to block a long direct kick.
“With a young team we are still having trouble playing good soccer for 90 minutes,” Inverso said. “The second half we were able to manage the game. We held our composure well. A 2-0 lead is a weird lead in soccer. It is better than 1-0 but sometimes you get cautious and get out of your game a little bit.”
Bryant (2-4) out-shot Rider 13-10, including 9-1 in the second half, but Rider had six shots on goal, compared to five by Bryant.
“I thought we played a fantastic first half,” Inverso said. “We did everything we wanted to do in the first half."
Rider and Bryant tied 1-1 in 2011, the only other meeting between these two teams.
Bryant defeated UMass Lowell Thursday evening to break a three-game losing streak.
Rider returns home to host LIU Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon. “It’s going to be a good game,” Bond said, “LIU is a good team but hopefully the best team wins.”
“I think we’re ready,” Inverso said.
Let’s hope the fall weather continues.