TROY, NY – The University of Massachusetts Boston men’s soccer team scored twice in a 10-minute span in the first half and then held off Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) 2-1 in a non-league game at East Campus Arena. The Beacons improved to 1-0-1, while the Engineers dropped to 0-1-1.
The visitors struck first when junior Josh DeAlmeida held off a defender and pushed the ball over the goal line with his heel in the 22nd minute. Elijah Elliott started the play with a long cross from the right side that sailed towards the opposite corner. The ball was sent back to in front of the goal and DeAlmeida, with his back to the goal, got a foot on it and kicked through the defense.
The visitors doubled their lead when Ryan Lima fought off defenders and booted a loose ball into the goal. RPI keeper Luke Brezak went up in the air for a cross and got both hands on it but could not maintain control. The ball dropped to the surface and Lima scored in traffic.
The Engineers pressed throughout the rest of the opening half, but were unable to score. They continued to surge in the second half, including outstanding chances Kyle Osborne and Andy Zhao a minute apart 10 minutes into the frame. Osborne eventually cut the deficit in half when he headed the ball into the upper left corner off a free kick Paul Silva.
Brezak kept it a one-goal deficit with a solid save with 11 minutes remaining and UMass Boston’s keeper, Qasim El-Ashkar, answered with a save off a Julio Rodriguez header about a minute later. Silva had a strong bid of his own with two minutes remaining, but his long shot was knocked away by the junior goalie.
El-Ashkar finished with seven saves as RPI held an 8-3 advantage in shots on goal. The Engineers earned five corners to the Beacons’ one.
Rensselaer plays again on Wednesday when it travels to Manhattanville (7pm), while UMass Boston plays at Skidmore on Monday at noon.