NORTH ANDOVER, MA — The Robert Morris men’s soccer team (2-6-2, 1-0-1 NEC) will look to gain their Northeast Conference victory this Friday as they head to unfamiliar territory for a crucial early matchup against newly inducted NEC member Merrimack College (3-3-2, 1-0 NEC). Before these two sides meet up for the first time in their history, let’s take a look at both squads and see who they possess that could lead their team to a win.
Recapping Robert Morris
RMU’s most recent encounter saw them draw to a 0-0 tie with fellow NEC foe Fairleigh Dickinson (4-4-1, 0-0-1) this past Sunday. Lorenzo Guagneli had four shots, with two on target to lead the Colonials stat-wise, while the Knights were led in shots by Danel Lasarte, who attempted five. Jahmali Waite and Mike Zolnierczyk turned aside every shot they faced in a game that was a defensive clinic but failed to gain either team any major points in the standings.
The Warriors are off to a flying start since beginning the transition process to Division I, going 3-3-2 overall (their match against Georgia Southern (4-5) at the beginning of September was also canceled) and earned their first-ever conference victory on the road this past Friday in Fairfield, staging an incredible performance as they shut out Sacred Heart (1-8, 0-2 NEC) by a score of 2-0. The Warriors struck first just over the 35th-minute when Henry Osei put one home, assisted by Mirko Nufi. Merrimack then stifled the Pioneers with their defensive play and firmly solidified their win at just over the 76th-minute as Sebastian Toro tallied, an assist being credited to Diego Torrealba. Lucas Rezende was phenomenal in net for the blue and yellow, stopping all nine shots that SHU sent his way.
Players to watch:
Christian Coridon and Riccardo Rota (RMU)
Despite their struggles to start the season, the Colonials have come to be able to rely on proven scorers in Rota and Coridon. Though the pair have been quiet so far, with both only grabbing one goal in play, and Coridon having one assist, they are both shooters who can pepper the goalkeeper often, with Coridon putting 18 shots on net, and Rota following close behind with 14. RMU will need their touch if they hope to get more opportunities on net that they can crash for rebound chances.
Marc Torrellas and Stefano Pesenti (Merrimack)
Both Torrellas and Pesenti have proven, despite just making the move with their team up to Division I, that they are proven offensive powerhouses for the Warriors. They have both contributed to Merrimack’s positive start to their 2019 campaign with Torrellas notching two goals thus far, and Pesenti a goal and an assist. RMU must contain these two prolific offensive men for the Warriors if they hope to avoid being on the opposite side of an upset in Massachusetts.
Having just mentioned the possibility of an upset, I feel that such a scenario will occur this Friday. I feel that Merrimack’s offensive prowess will be too strong for RMU’s defense to handle, and the newcomer Warriors will surprise everyone with another 2-0 shutout and will improve to 2-0 in NEC play, in what I feel will be a major season of surprise for the entire men’s soccer program.