Saturday night fútbol at Sports Backers featured VCU taking on Duquesne as the Rams looked to stay near the top of the A-10 table. VCU sits alone in 3rd place with 8 points just behind George Washington and Fordham holding the top spot with 9 points each.
The wind was not too kind out there on the pitch and neither was the play between VCU and Duquesne. Multiple fouls early between the two teams in the opening minutes as Duquesne attempted to apply a lot of pressure on VCU’s forwards while controlling the midfield.
VCU were able to counter Duquesne’s tactics on counter attacks led by multiple players. From Jorge Herranz to Kai Marshall, VCU found some daylight in midfield and looked to make Duquesne pay. Issac Owusu and Ivan Sakou joined in on the action for the Rams with strikes that either spun wide or sailed over the goal thanks to the blistering wind at Sports Backers.
Defensively led by the outstanding play of Juan Fajardo Ortiz, VCU were able to hold Duquesne without taking a shot as the half-time whistle blew. A total of 10 fouls between the two teams were called in the 1st half.
As the 2nd half got underway, VCU had a great chance just seconds after kickoff. Kai Marshall created some space and took a strike straight to Duquesne’s goalkeeper Sam Frymier for the save.
Along with VCU’s Pierre Gardan, both goalkeepers had tremendous saves to keep the match leveled. Gardan had an unreal sequence in the 55’ off the Duquesne corner kick where he was able to get a hand to it from a difficult angle. From there Gardan was able to pounce on top of the ball before Duquesne’s Diego Vieira was able to unleash a strike.
The Rams played more aggressively on both sides of the ball. Offensively Simond Kargbo was able to make great runs pass the Dukes backline of defense which lead to more opportunities to find the back of the net. Along with Ortiz was Dennis Castillo holding the VCU defense intact while also assisting on the midfield moving the ball forward.
After 90 minutes, extra time was needed to decide the result. The first period of extra time had an emotional moment in the 93’ where VCU’s Dakota Barnathan was shoved down in the box on top of the ball. No PK was given as Duquesne was able to clear away the danger. Luc Fatton almost got one by Frymier in the 98’ but his strike was saved by the senior goalkeeper who finished the match with 10 saves.
VCU and Duquesne gave everything they had in the final period of extra time to get that golden goal and the 3 points. The Rams controlled possession for the majority of the period but the strikes just couldn’t find the net. VCU’s best chance came with about 24 seconds left as Castillo took a free kick from about 25 yards out. Castillo spun it towards the left side of the goal and Frymier read it to make the save.
The final whistle blew as VCU and Duquesne ended in 0-0 draw.. Both teams earned a point in this chilly yet heated grudge match at Sports Backers.
Next up for VCU is a road match against St. Louis in A-10 action Wednesday night. Kick-off is set for 8 PM.