The UMKC men’s soccer team took on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights Sunday afternoon for an intense double overtime game. The Roos, coming off a four game winning streak, dominated the game but were unable to connect ultimately leading to a 0-0 finish.
The first half was an even battle between both teams. Rutgers applied pressure on UMKC’s defense but the Roos were impenetrable. Each attempt from Rutgers was shut down by #1 Sophomore Goalkeeper Filippo Errico. Roos’ opportunities came from the strong ball work amongst the whole team. The team’s ability to switch the field with the ball led to strong opportunities up front by penetrating Rutgers’ defense. The best chance of the half came from #14 Sophomore Defender Antoine Precher. After receiving the ball at the top of the box, Precher unleashed a powerful shot that was stopped by #1 Junior Goalkeeper Rafael Pereira. Rutgers responded with an attempt of their own, after beating #13 Sophomore Midfielder Victor Olorunfemi, Rutgers’ Sophomore Forward #8 Brian Hawkins let go of a shot inside the penalty box but the shot was saved by Errico.
With the energy leaning towards UMKC entering the second half, the Roos came out flying. To start, Freshman Midfielder #7 Enric Ferrer stole the ball from a Rutgers’ player sending him on a break way but was unable to connect with the shot. Following that play, Ferrer was able to get the ball out wide for a cross into the box to McWoods, but McWoods could not get the ball into the net.
UMKC’s momentum continued with two shots from Sophomore Defender #3 Alvaro Hernando and more attempts by McWoods. Towards the end of the second Rutgers woke up and began an offensive assault on UMKC that resulted in nine shots from the Scarlet Knights. With only seven minutes to play in the second, Rutgers’ Senior Forward #9 Ethan Vanacore-Decker was on a breakaway, shortly after entering the penalty box he was taken out by a UMKC defender. The whistle blew and Rutgers was rewarded a penalty kick. Vanacore-Decker took the PK but was shut down by UMKC goalkeeper Errico. The shots kept coming from Rutgers but Errico was like a brick wall, stopping everything coming his way. With only a minute left to play in regulation, Rutgers’ Freshman Midfielder #7 Kyle Galloway let a shot go from inside the penalty box that rattled off the cross bar. The game headed into overtime.
The first half of overtime was dominated by UMKC. After receiving the ball in the penalty box McWoods had Rutgers’ defense at his back, he was swarmed and pulled down in the box, the ball went loose and Junior Midfielder #16 Henry Ramirez was there to pick it up, Ramirez beat a defender and just as he was lining up for the game winning goal the referee blew the whistle signaling a foul on Rutgers defense against McWoods. The controversial call was not taken kindly by either team. Following the foul, UMKC still had possession of the ball with the referee stopping the game just short of Ramirez’s shot. The foul resulted in a penalty kick for the Roos. McWoods lined up for the PK but was stopped by goalkeeper Pereira.
At the start of the second half of overtime began, both teams were drained of energy. That didn’t stop either of them from some close chances to win the game. After beating UMKC defenders out wide Rutgers’ Hawkins dribbled a ball across the middle, letting go of a shot but just missing his mark over the top. Following that the Roo’s Junior Midfielder #21 Christian Anderaos took a shot just outside of the 18-yard-ine but missed his shot wide. With the clock ticking away, McWoods had a breakway, the announcer counted down the last five seconds and at the last second McWoods shot but it just went wide resulting in the tie.
Following the game Coach Rick Benben said the team played well and that goalkeeper Filipo had a strong performance. Benben also commented on the strong start this season following a losing season last year.
“Overall play was excellent. I am extremely pleased with everybody for where we are three games into the season,” Benben said. “Last year, we rebuilt the team, we started seven freshman every game, what happened was is those guys have a year under their belt and all have improved, I think these guys effort has been really good.”
The Roo’s will host Memphis this Friday night at 7:30 p.m.