by JOHN JACKSON, Sports Editor
The Manhattan College men’s soccer team (7-1; 0-0 MAAC) took down No. 25 Fordham (3-1-2; 0-0-0 A-10) thanks to a late goal from junior defenseman Adrien Awana on Sept. 18 at Gaelic Park.
This latest installment of the “Battle of the Bronx” was much anticipated as the Jaspers came in rolling at 6-1 on the season and the Rams came in as 2017 NCAA Elite 8 representatives and nationally ranked this season. A crowd of 498 came out to see which Bronx team would claim the borough in 2018. That was the largest crowd for a men’s soccer game at Gaelic Park in at least the last six years.
There wasn’t much in terms of action for the first half of the game. Both teams combined for eight shots and no corner kicks. The Jaspers came close to scoring at the 13:18 mark when junior defenseman Tristan Doran set up sophomore forward Berti Fourrier for a shot. However, Fourrier’s kick hit the right post.
The closest the Rams came to scoring was at 15:00 when junior midfielder Bart Dziedzic took a shot from outside the box that junior goalie Marcellin Gohier stopped. The only other save in the first half came from Rams senior goalie Rashid Nuhu who deflected sophomore forward Brandon Joseph-Buadi’s close-range kick at 18:03.
Similar to the first half, the second half featured more defense than offense for the majority of the minutes. Both teams once again combined for eight shots, but they did combine for five corner kicks this time around.
Fourrier played aggressively as he followed up his two shot attempts in the first half with three more in the second half. Two of the three shots were wide and the third was stopped by Nuhu at the 69:43 mark as he dove to his left to pick up his second of three saves on the night.
Gohier picked up his second save of the game a few minutes prior (at the 65:29 mark) when Nuhu fired a free kick near midfield all the way towards the net which was counted as a shot on goal.
With 36 seconds left of regulation, freshman midfielder James Cotter found Awana who then buried the ball in the far left corner of the net for the game’s only goal. It was Awana’s fourth goal of the season which tied the French transfer student with Joseph-Buadi for the most on the team and the most in the MAAC.
Manhattan’s win over Fordham marked a few firsts for the Jaspers. It was the first time on record that they have ever beaten a nationally ranked team, the first time they have beaten the Rams since 2004 and the highest winning percentage (.875) they have finished non-conference play with since joining the MAAC in 1987.
The Jaspers will now head to West Long Branch, NJ as they open up MAAC play against Monmouth University (2-4-1; 0-0-0 MAAC) on Wednesday Sept. 26 at 7:00 p.m. at Hesse Field on the Great Lawn.