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Rutgers men's soccer uses huge 2nd half to power past Albany

The Rutgers mens soccer team powered through a battle, using a strong second half effort to defeat Albany.  – Photo by Rutgers Mens Soccer / Twitter

Tonight, the Rutgers men’s soccer team defeated Albany 5-1. The win, which extended the Scarlet Knights’ (3-1-2) unbeaten streak to four games, was powered by a 5-goal second period.

Rutgers started the first half fast. In the 4th minute, senior forward MD Myers had his near post header parried away by goalkeeper Daniel Shannon

Despite the fast start, it was the Great Danes (1-4-1, 0-0-0) who opened the scoring, when a cross got deflected and found Saad Faiz on the edge of the box. Faiz curled the ball into the bottom right corner of the net. Albany would take the 1-0 lead into the first period. 

Though the Knights trailed at the conclusion of the first period, they dominated the stat sheet. At the end of the first period, Rutgers had 12 shots compared to the Great Danes’ three shots, and the Knights had three corners whereas Albany had none. 

Despite Rutgers’ 12 shots, the team struggled to put any of them on target. At the end of the first period, the team only had one shot on goal compared to the Great Danes’ two shots on target.

The second period was much different for the Knights as they put 5 goals past Shannon.

The scoring started early on for Rutgers as in the 58th minute, graduate student midfielder Pablo Avila found senior midfielder Jackson Temple on the outside of the box. Temple took a touch and took a shot that bounced off the crossbar and into the net to tie the game. 

“I knew (Avila) was going to give it back to me. We have a pretty good relationship, so I was ready to hit it, and once he laid it off, I just tried to put my foot through it, and it came off nice,” Temple said after the game.

Two minutes later, Temple struck again. This time, he took a pass from Myers, driving in the box and tucking the ball in the bottom right corner to give the Knights the 2-1 lead.

In the 73rd minute, the duo of Temple and Myers combined once again. A Temple shot was saved by Shannon but bounced right back to Myers who buried the ball into the upper left corner to give Rutgers a 3-1 lead.

Three minutes later, junior forward Ola Maeland stole the ball from an Albany defender and took a shot from right outside the box that found its way into the bottom right corner.

The 5th goal came from sophomore defender Bryan Keating, who headed in a corner kick from Maeland to put the Knights up 5-1 in the 87th minute.

By the time the final whistle blew, Rutgers had 25 shots with eight shots on goal, whereas the Great Danes had six shots with two shots on goal, and Shannon had three saves.

The Knights will look to stay undefeated at home when they take on Northwestern in their Big Ten opener on Saturday night.

“We just encouraged our guys to get forward more and play with confidence, ask for the ball," said head coach Jim McElderry after the win. "We have good enough players to score goals, so just keep believing in yourself."

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

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