Men's Soccer

Engineers dig talons into Raptors

The Engineers scored three goals in three minutes to shoot down the Bard Raptors 3-0 in their Liberty League opener. Scorers for Rensselaer were Paul Silva, who buried two penalties, and Joaquin Rodriguez, who opened his collegiate tally.

The Engineer defense opened the match precariously, giving away possession in their half and lacking coordination. RPI also struggled to advance upfield when playing out of the back, mostly due to a sizable gap in midfield. In the attacking half, however, the Engineers were quick to apply pressure to the Bard backline.

Nearing the conclusion of the first half, RPI attackers naturally drifted into space and ripped apart the Raptors with incisive runs. Midfielder Julio Rodriguez supplied an inch-perfect pass to winger Bradley Potter-Alvarez into the box. Potter-Alvarez slipped a cutback between Bard defenders to Ben Kogan, but he was unable to take a shot on goal.

The Engineers had another opportunity when Rodriguez settled an upfield lob from Paul Silva with an impressive first touch. Julio Rodriguez cut into space, but a cynical slide tackle from behind by Bard’s Johannes Meyer cut him down. Believing Meyer’s tackle to be a disingenuous attempt to win the ball, the referee awarded him a yellow card. The two teams headed into the break tied at 0‒0.

Less than two minutes into the second half, the Engineers overcame the stalemate. A soft punch from the Bard goalkeeper dropped to Kogan in the box. The Engineer settled the ball on his thigh and laced a volley toward goal. A Raptor defender blocked the shot with his arm a few feet from the goal line—the referees immediately blew their whistles. Paul Silva, the Engineers’ reliable penalty specialist, planted the ball on the spot. Silva tucked his shot into the bottom-left corner past the outstretched keeper to propel the Engineers into the lead.

Within a minute, RPI widened their lead. Alex Garciá arced a through ball over the Bard defense for Kyle Osborne to run onto. A Bard defender, not attempting to play the ball, knocked the Engineer off-balance and brought him down in the penalty area. The referee instantly brandished a yellow card and Silva stepped up to take another spot kick. Silva doubled his tally after sending the goalie the wrong direction, providing RPI a two-goal cushion.

PAUL SILVA SCORES from the penalty spot. Gemma Beatty/The Polytechnic

The Engineers scored another goal in quick succession off a free kick. The delivery from Pierce Dillon was cleared by a Raptor, but the header covered no distance. Joaquin Rodriguez, with eyes for goal, teed himself up to volley the falling ball. His strike hopped along the ground through traffic, invisible to the Bard goalkeeper until it was too late. The finish slid under the diving Raptor for RPI’s third goal of the game, the first of Rodriguez’s collegiate career.

The Engineers continued to dominate the game on offense, but did not score another goal. RPI’s first league game of the season was a 3-0 victory, bringing their record to 3-3-2 (1-0). Click here for the box score and here for the RPI TV broadcast.