Fordham Men’s Soccer Draws 2-2 Versus UMass in Close Contest

The Rams narrowly avoided a loss to extend their overall unbeaten streak to nine games



Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Week, Daniel Espeleta, GGSB ’23, scored a breakaway goal in the first half.


A highly competitive match between the Fordham men’s soccer team and the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Minutemen resulted in a 2-2 draw on Oct. 1. After a dominant win against the St. Bonaventure University Bonnies on Sept. 24, Fordham Men’s Soccer had broken a succession of draws. However, following this match, their draw streak is sitting at 2. 

While they are disappointed with the draw, the Rams will likely still be content as they scored a last-minute equalizer. An abundance of physicality, mentality and spirit was shown by both UMass and Fordham, which offered a great spectacle for fans. 

As soon as the game kicked off, it was clear that UMass was ready and relaxed. Evan Fournier, UMass ’23, established the team’s presence, picking up balls and driving at the Fordham defense. Within 10 minutes, UMass had scored the opener. 

Fordham, although stung early, forced their way back into the game. The Fordham defensive line was able to absorb some pressure from the opposition with shots coming from Andrew Ortiz and Nick Zielonka, both UMass ’25. 

The Rams then followed up with four consecutive goal attempts, the last one resulting in a tidy finish from Offensive Player of the Week Daniel Espeleta, Gabelli Graduate School of Business (GGSB) ’23, making the score 1-1. 

The rest of the half became a physical battle with neither team able to break the deadlock, as only Savvas Christoforou, Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill (GSBRH) ’23, let off a shot. By the end of the first half, frustration had set in on both sides with 17 fouls committed between Fordham and UMass, nine and seven respectively.

The second half was a back-and-forth affair. The first action saw Timo Hummrich, GGSB ’23, lose possession of the ball on the left wing within the first minute. He had been a real threat the week before, but UMass’ defensive intensity forced turnovers. 

UMass seemed the more dangerous of the two sides with Alec Hughes, UMass ’24, attempting a shot low and hard that forced a good save from Demetri Skoumbakis, GGSB ’23, with 35 minutes left. This offered the Minutemen a chance to utilize a long throw-in, but UMass was ultimately unable to convert the attack. 

There’s an old saying in the sports world:  “It’s not over until it’s over.”

Christoforou showed an extremely high work rate, with an excellent succession of slide tackles around the 33rd minute. It was also a physical game; three yellow cards were handed out by the referee, and the foul count reached 27 by the end of the match, exceeding Fordhams last outing by 10. 

Star rookie Nathan Simes, GSBRH ’26, had good contributions but was often forced off the ball. Listed at 6-feet and 155 pounds, Simes looked to add that strength and size to what is already a fundamentally sound game. 

UMass continued to build pressure, mainly through the excellence of Fournier and his skillful left foot. He caused issues for the Fordham midfield and defense, primarily through his ability to change pace with the ball and provide crosses into dangerous areas within the Fordham box. 

Skoumbakis came rushing out of the goal with around 32 minutes left in the game to collect a dangerous over-the-top through ball. The keeper conceded two goals to UMass but showed composure and cognizance throughout the match. 

Espeleta also provided a threat outside of his goal contribution in the first half. With 30 minutes left he showed silky skill in his ability to intercept and control a long pass from Skoumbakis and turn, ultimately causing two UMass players to collide with one another, forcing Ortiz to complain to the referee and walk off the impact.

In the next phase of attack, Simes played a pass to Jed Dixon, Fordham College at Rose Hill ’25, on the wing. He received the ball back, playing a fast one-two with Espeleta, and let off a shot that veered wide of the left post. With half an hour left to play, it was anyone’s game, tied at 1. 

However, with around fifteen minutes left, UMass struck the net once more. This time Skoumbakis played a ball out to the right wing where UMass won possession through pure desire and physicality. 

The ball made its way to Fournier who once again proved almost untouchable, shifting the ball from left to right and playing a perfectly weighted pass to Shizo Yohena, UMass ’25. He proceeded to score a wondergoal, shooting an unsavable shot into the top left corner of Skoumbakis’ net. 

Despite this, the Rams showed no signs of being down and out. Team captain Conrado Duhour, GSBRH ’23, picked up the ball and ran it back to the middle of the pitch to quickly restart play. The very next attack epitomized Fordham’s intention in finishing out the game, with Jakob Gesien, GGSB ’23, firing a dangerous shot from outside the box that missed the goal. 

Another UMass score seemed inevitable, and with 8 minutes left it almost came when Fournier capped off a nearly perfect performance by beating Skoumbakis and sending off a shot that scraped the outside of the right post. 

There’s an old saying in the sports world:  “It’s not over until it’s over.” With two minutes left Gesien received the ball in practically the same position as his earlier shot. This time it clattered off the inside of the left post and made its way into the net to tie the game 

Competition is about mentality more than anything, and Fordham Head Coach Carlo Acquista has evidently enforced a strong mindset within this team. Despite the outcome, a goal to draw in the dying minutes shows the potential this Fordham team has. Their next game will be against the Davidson College Wildcats on Oct. 5. 

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