LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ – The Rider University men’s soccer team scored twice in the second half to erase a halftime deficit and defeat Niagara, 2-1, Wednesday afternoon on Ben Cohen Field. With the win, the Broncs improve to 4-5-1 (3-0-0 MAAC), while the Purple Eagles slip to 2-9-0 (0-3-0 MAAC).
Niagara grabbed a 1-0 lead at the 11:11 mark when Hector Solorio’s long pass from the Purple Eagles defensive third met Luca Pacheco in stride to the top of the 18-yard box. 1v1 with a charging Rider goalkeeper Pablo Gatinois (Madrid, Spain/Lycee Francais de Madrid [Oregon State]), Pacheco put it away for Niagara.
Rider generated nine first-half shots, but it wasn’t until the second half that the Broncs would find the back of the net. In the 54th minute, Sergio Aguinaga (Madrid, Spain/Antonio Dominguez Ortiz) played the ball wide to Emmanuel Kouma (Paris, France/University of Paris), who fed Pablo DeCastro (Madrid, Spain/Universidad Francisco de Vitoria) in the box. With a defender on his back, DeCastro was still able to turn to his left and shoot inside the right post for the equalizer from 15 yards out.
Just under eight minutes later, Mathis Catanzaro’s thru ball played Elliott Otmani (La Ciotat, France/Bonaparte) into the 18-yard box. Otmani played the ball toward the center of the box before shooting inside the right post for what proved to be the game winner.
Quotes and Notes
“It was a really bad first half, very lackadaisical. We challenged them at halftime. They responded. Got to give the assistant coaches credit for really good suggestions for adjustments that we made in the second half. We played good, attacking soccer.”
(On Emmanuel Kouma) “He’s starting to mature as a player. He made some good adjustments. He’s been playing a little bit higher up the field. As the game went on, he made some good adjustments by getting back and plugging some holes on the right side. We all know he’s got great potential. I was happy with his second half.”
“This game goes out to my new nephew who was born yesterday – Owen Michael Miller, OMM as I call him, and I can’t wait to meet you.” – Rider Head Coach Charlie Inverso
“We had a bad first half. So at halftime, the coach made some adjustments. We spoke and talked to each other about what we have to do. We made the adjustments and played the perfect second half.”
“For me, that was the first time that I played right back. Right back used to be my first position, so I was happy. I gave all the energy I had for the team.” – Rider redshirt junior back Emmanuel Kouma
- Rider leads the all-time series with Niagara, 12-7-3, including wins in each of the last five meetings.
- Rider won for the first time when trailing this season. The Broncs lost their first five games this season when conceding the first goal.
- After not having as many as two wins through two MAAC games in Rider Head Coach Charlie Inverso’s first six years leading the Broncs, the Broncs are now 3-0-0 through two league games for the second-straight year. Rider started the league slate 5-0-0 in 2017.
- Otmani has a goal in each of the last three games for the Broncs, all Rider wins.
Broncs By The Numbers
- After scoring just twice through the season’s first seven games, Rider has seven goals in the last three games.
- After completing the first 44 games of his career covering parts of three seasons without tallying an assist, Kouma has one in each of his last two games.
- DeCastro briefly tied Otmani for the team lead with his third goal of the season before the graduate student and team captain scored the game winner for his team-leading fourth of the year.
- For his career, Otmani has now scored 27 goals.
- Gatinois made one save to take the victory in net for the Broncs.
- Catanzaro registered his second assist in three games played this season, while Aguinaga’s assist was his first of the year and the third of his career.
- Rider took a 19-5 edge in shots, including a 9-2 edge in shots on goal.
- Rider took nine corner kicks, while the Purple Eagles did not take one.