The Rutgers men's soccer team began its 2023 season with a 3-2 loss to Delaware on Thursday. The Scarlet Knights (0-1, 0-0) lost their season opener for the first time since 2018.
The Blue Hens (1-0, 0-0) scored the opening goal in the 18th minute, as Carlos Fernandez shot the ball in the bottom right corner of the goal. For the remainder of the first half, Rutgers would push to find the equalizing goal, attempting eight shots in the half.
The Knights' momentum would pay off, as they scored their 1st goal of the season in the 44th minute. Sophomore forward Ian Abbey swung the ball into Delaware's box to senior defender Saahb Kular, who headed the ball into the left corner to score his 1st collegiate goal.
The second half would continue to be a close contest between each team as both sides fought to get ahead.
The Blue Hens had a great chance to take the lead in the 62nd minute, as Justin Ruth got a scoring opportunity in front of sophomore goalkeeper Ciaran Dalton, but Kular stuck a foot out to block the shot away.
The deadlock would not be broken until the 74th minute, as Delaware reclaimed the lead with a goal from Cristobal Granada. The Blue Hens continued their momentum as Jordan Miller added to Delaware's lead with a goal of his own just more than 3 minutes later.
Despite Rutgers trailing 3-1, the team would still fight to get back into the game. The Knights scored their 2nd goal of the game in the 87th minute after graduate student midfielder Jackson Temple passed the ball to sophomore midfielder Cole Cruthers, who lashed a shot into the back of the net.
In the game's final minutes, Rutgers would battle to find the equalizing goal but were ultimately unsuccessful.
The Blue Hens only attempted nine shots but played strong defense to claim the victory. Eddie DeMarco made seven crucial saves for Delaware.
The Knights took eight more shots but were unable to take advantage of their opportunities. Dalton had less to do between the posts, as he made three saves.
Both sides played a physical game as Rutgers received four yellow cards, while the Blue Hens stayed more disciplined with two yellow cards issued.
The Knights will look to find their first win of the season in their home opener against St. John's on Monday. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., with the game being broadcast on Big Ten Network+ and 88.7 WRSU-FM.
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