*** STORY MODIFIED ON OCTOBER 3 TO REFLECT SCORING DECISION CHANGE BY FDU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
TEANECK, NJ – The Iona College men's soccer team won a very physical bout over Fairleigh Dickinson on Wednesday night. Esad Mackic's last-minute goal would prove to be the deciding factor in the match for the Gaels.
Iona and Fairleigh Dickinson played a very physical match to start. The Knights were called for four fouls, including a yellow card in the first 15 minutes of action. Iona was whistled for two fouls and Mackic was issued a yellow card. The lone offensive highlight in that span of action was a Najim Romero shot that was stopped by Steven Ortiz.
Despite the physicality, Iona still had its chances on offense. Josh Plimptontried a shot in the 18th minute that was saved, but the ball kicked away from Ortiz and was kicked into his own net by a defender that was pressed by Lenworth Lopez. The official ruling was that it was an own goal, despite originally being awarded to Lopez as his sixth goal of the season.
The Knights answered back with two tries, one on net, but Giuliano Santucci directed it away from danger and the Gaels transitioned from offense to defense. Lopez tried another shot, this time however, the shot missed out left.
The Gaels had three corner kick opportunities in a five-minute span as they continued to dominate possession, but couldn't muster a shot on those three chances. Another corner in the 31st minute produced a Romero shot on goal that was stopped by Ortiz. Senior Malcolm Moreno continued the barrage on Ortiz, firing a shot that again forced the keeper to make a save.
The Maroon & Gold's offense sputtered a little as the half closed out, but their defense continued to stifle the Fairleigh Dickinson offense. The Knights could muster just one shot over the final 23 minutes of the first half thanks in part to a great defensive showing by the Gaels.
Fairleigh Dickinson came out firing in the second half, ripping three shots in the first five-plus minutes of play. None of the Knights' tries required a save however. The Knights continued to register shots, but none were very quality shots. FDU tried seven shots in the opening 20 minutes of the second half; none were on net. Mauro Bravo recorded Iona's only shot in that span, one that was stopped by Ortiz.
The Knights tried back-to-back corner kicks in the 62nd minute and again were unable to manage a shot attempt on either try. Another corner resulted in a shot by Ideal Shefqeti that was off target.
Iona took back control of possession as the clock ran under 10 minutes left. Bravo, Plimpton and Tomas Jamett all took shots, but none could pad the Gaels' lead. Jamett's chance led to a corner, but nothing came of it for the Maroon & Gold.
Iona's focus shifted towards defense and closing out the final five minutes of the match and retaining its 1-0 lead. The Gaels added to their lead, with Mackic scoring in the final minute on a pass from Romero. The Knights would erase the shutout and Iona's clean sheet with a penalty kick score in the final 10 seconds, but Iona won the match 2-1.
Iona travels to Loudonville, NY for its league-opener against the Siena Saints. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 PM.
Be sure to follow Iona College athletics and men's soccer on all social media platforms:
ICGaels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (Email Updates)
Iona Men's Soccer: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (Email Updates)