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Rutgers men's soccer beats Northwestern 2-1

Freshman midfielder Matthew Acosta assisted junior midfielder Jackson Temple's goal as the Rutgers men's soccer team defeated Northwestern 2-1 in Evanston. – Photo by Benjamin Chelnitsky

When the Rutgers men’s soccer team got to Evanston, Illinois, on Friday, they were coming off a tough stretch that saw them lose 3 of their previous 4 games — all of which came in conference play.

On Friday night, they got a much-needed 2-1 win over Northwestern, giving the program its most wins in a single season since 2015.

“I thought we played well, but it's not easy to win in this league,” said head men's soccer coach Jim McElderry after the game. “We scored on 2 great goals tonight, and we needed both of them. We will enjoy this one and then shift focus to Michigan.”

The Scarlet Knights (8-3-2, 2-3-1) took the lead in the 20th minute when a through ball from freshman midfielder Matthew Acosta found junior midfielder Jackson Temple at the edge of the box. Temple got his 3rd goal of the season to give Rutgers the lead.

The Knights went into the halftime break with a 1-0 lead, but it didn’t take long for the Wildcats (3-3-0, 0-0-0) to respond. Six minutes into the second half, a cross found Rom Brown near the goal-line, and he powered home a point-blank header to equalize the score.

Rutgers responded in the 80th minute when senior forward Ritchie Barry got on the end of a diving header from senior midfielder Nick Cruz with a diving header. It was just the 2nd goal of the season for Barry, who led the Knights in goals during the spring season.

Offensively, Rutgers got most of the offensive opportunities in this game, outshooting Northwestern by a decisive 12 to 6 margin. The team also got a 5 to 3 advantage in shots on frame.

For the Knights, the win moves them to 7th in the Big Ten standings, as they now have 7 points overall in conference play. They are currently just 3 points away from 4th place with three Big Ten games left to play — which has postseason implications, as the top four teams host a Big Ten Tournament game in the quarterfinal round.

Rutgers now has another four days before the team returns to the field for a trip to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan this Friday.

The Knights are currently tied with the Wolverines (6-5-2, 3-2-1) in the standings with 7 points each, but Michigan has a game in hand. Rutgers lost its last matchup 2-1 at Yurcak Field in the spring.

For updates on the Rutgers men's soccer team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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