PITTSBURGH, Pa. — After a string of lopsided victories, the University of Rio Grande men’s soccer team showed that it can win the close games, too.
The RedStorm netted a first half goal and then survived a caution-filled second stanza to post a 1-0 win over Point Park University, Thursday afternoon, in River States Conference action at Highmark Stadium.
Rio Grande, which is ranked No. 7 in the latest NAIA coaches’ poll, improved to 8-0 overall and 2-0 in league play as a result of its seventh shutout victory of the season.
Point Park slipped to 5-4 overall and 1-2 in league play with the loss.
Overall, the Pioneers were outshot 18-6 for the game, including 15-2 in the first half.
Rio also enjoyed an 8-4 edge in shots on frame and 9-1cushion in corner kick chances.
The RedStorm, who had outshot the opposition 99-9 in their previous three matches, while also not allowing a shot on goal in their last two outings, netted what proved to be the game’s only marker with just over 18-1/2 minutes left before the intermission.
Freshman Nicolas Cam Orellana (Santiago, Chile) gathered in a centering pass from junior teammate James Williamson (San Jose, Costa Rica) six yards in front of the goal and pushed a shot past PPU net-minder Juan Somoza with 18:36 remaining in the half.
While the first half of play produced no cautions of any kind, the second half saw the two squads combine for 12 cards – six on each squad.
Five of the 12 violations resulted in red cards, including a pair against the RedStorm.
Senior Harry Reilly (Coventry, England), who had received a yellow card caution just over five minutes into the second half, was sent off after receiving another in the 78th minute.
Fellow senior Mitchell Osmond (Sydney, Australia) earned a yellow of his own just over two minutes into the second half and was forced to leave in the 83rd minute when red carded for his part in a brief tussle with Point Park’s Ricardo Merced.
Reilly and Osmond will both be forced to miss Rio’s next game, which comes on Saturday in a return trip to the Steel City to face Carlow University.
Merced was also ejected, just three minutes after his teammate, Tadeo D’Apollo, was given the boot.
Junior Richard Dearle (Castle Donington, England) stopped four shots in goal for Rio Grande.
Somoza was credited with seven saves in the loss for the Pioneers.
Rio Grande’s match with Carlow on Saturday is scheduled to kickoff at 1:30 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.