Preview: RMU looks to build on momentum against Fairleigh Dickinson


Photo Credit: David Auth

Evan Basista, Contributor

MOON TOWNSHIP — The Robert Morris men’s soccer team (2-6-1, 1-0) is looking to defeat Fairleigh Dickinson’s squad (4-3) in their latest NEC matchup. The Colonials host the Knights at the North Athletic Complex this Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

Recapping RMU

Robert Morris started NEC play against the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (3-4, 0-1) last Friday, winning by a score of 1-0. It was a tight affair, with Cristian Palermo getting credit for the Colonials tally in the 80th-minute via an own goal by the Mount. Prior to Friday’s victory, the Colonials faced off against Howard University (1-5-1), with the game ending in a hard-fought 1-1 draw.

Scouting Fairleigh Dickinson

The Knights come into this matchup with a 1-2 record over their last three games, being outscored by a total of 6-2 over that span. Their most recent game was a 4-0 loss at home to Princeton (3-2). Fairleigh Dickinson has not scored many goals this season (nine), but they have also been strong defensively, allowing only ten goals across their seven games. It truly has been a sort of tale of two teams, as they have only allowed one goal in each of their four wins but have been shut out in all three losses on the year, including two 1-0 final scores.

Since 2005, Fairleigh Dickinson is 7-3-3 against Robert Morris. All three losses, however, have happened at RMU. In the two teams’ most recent head-to-head, Fairleigh Dickinson won 1-0 at home.

Players to Watch

Diego Arribas (Fairleigh Dickinson)

The clear leader on offense for the Knights, Arribas has scored three goals and two assists for an impressive total of eight points. He also leads Fairleigh Dickinson in shots, with nineteen, and is tied for second in shots on goal with eight. While he may not be the most efficient player with his .158 shooting percentage, there is no doubt Arribas has been the most effective. If the Colonials hope to defeat the Knights, they will need to keep the pressure on Arribas and limit his number of offensive chances.

Riccardo Rota (RMU)

While he has only scored one goal on the year so far, Rota certainly made it count, as it is one of two game-winning goals among RMU players this season and one of his twelve total shots. He played a key part in the winning goal against the Mountaineers, serving up the cross that was deflected in by the Mount St. Mary’s defender. Rota also has just six starts over the nine games Robert Morris has played, but there is no denying he comes up big in important moments. Look for him to have an impact on this game.


The Colonials are hungry for back-to-back wins, and while the Knights have a winning record, they are still a beatable opponent. Sticking with the trend of Fairleigh-Dickinson getting shutout in all of their losses, I think Rota will pick up another clutch goal and the defense will stand strong, leading to a 1-0 RMU victory.