VCU Men’s Soccer got back to work at Sports Backers Stadium in Atlantic 10 play versus UMass. Siad Haji led the Rams to the promise land on offense while Mario Sequeira came up big in goal against the Minutemen. The result and the points VCU wanted was earned Wednesday night at home to stay within range of first place.
Minutemen Start, Rams Finish
As the first half got underway, the visitors held possession and got their offense into the attacking third. UMass took three corner kicks in the first 15 minutes of the match and each shot attempt was blocked by VCU in the penalty box. The Rams had to wait for 18 minutes to get out of defensive mode and spring into some offense.
Haji got the Black & Gold offense with a strike that UMass blocked in the nick of time. Two minutes later Fortia Munts knocked the post on VCU’s next strike before being cleared by the Minutemen. Zeron Sewell was shown a yellow card in the 27th minute for VCU but even that occurrence did not stop the Rams’ offense from striking.
Ryo Shimazaki jumped into the fray and forced Marvyn Dorchin to make a diving save for UMass in the 36th minute. Haji and Munts continued kicking the ball on repeat but the goal remained clear. Both teams had six attempts in the first 45 minutes and the score remained 0-0 between VCU and UMass at halftime.
An Eventful Start to the 2nd
The early stages of the 2nd half led to a lot of whistles; 9 to be exact in less than 10 minutes. Shoulder-to-shoulder and a couple tackles gone bad between teams had the referees working double time to keep the match in control. VCU took control of the score in the 63rd minute.
Jared Greene tapped the ball near midfield to Haji. From there, Haji sprinted forward towards the 18-yard line and unleashed a low corner strike past Dorchin. Greene and Haji celebrated their work with VCU’s opening goal and a 1-0 lead at Sports Backers.
VCU’s lead was almost gone in just 60 seconds. UMass was rewarded a penalty kick in the 64th minute and Yosuke Hanya stepped up to take it. Hanya made his run and Mario Sequeira dove to the right to make the crucial penalty kick save for the Rams.
UMass unleashed a barrage on VCU’s goal and Sequeira got busy in goal. The sophomore goalkeeper denied UMass twice on header shots that nearly found the back of the net. Sequeira put enough pressure on Alec Petrizzi on his shot that sailed wide right on a 1v1 in the 64th minute.
Haji Racks Up The Points!
In the 69th minute, Haji stuck nylon once again. Peter Pearson passed the ball from the defensive third near midfield to Haji. From the right sideline, Haji sprinted over 20 yards towards the 18-yard line. Another low corner strike rolled to the right side and into the net to double down on VCU’s lead.
No go for the Minutemen on this night with a good round of defense by Mario Sequeira with 4 saves. Haji’s boots led the Rams on offense to collect all 3 points for VCU in a 2-0 victory over UMass. VCU improved to 2-0 in A-10 Play with 6 points; the Rams are now 6-4 overall.
VCU Men’s Soccer returns to Sports Backers Stadium on Saturday, October 6th to take on Duquesne in A-10 Play. That match will kick-off at 7 PM.