The University of Rhode Island men’s soccer team suffered its first Atlantic 10 Conference loss of the season when they fell 1-0 to Saint Louis University on a Kingsley Bryce goal in the 87th minute.
Rhode Island’s record dropped to 10-4-3 overall with a 6-1 posting in conference play.
Coming into the game the Rams had an 11-match unbeaten streak, but this contest was mostly dominated by Saint Louis as Rhode Island had trouble generating much of an attack on the Billikens defense.
In the opening half the teams accounted for a combined eight fouls with both teams getting a yellow card. Â The physical tone of the game suited Rhode Island’s style of play, but from the opening kick the Billikens dominated the ball and were able to limit Rhode Island’s time of possession.
“They attacked us on offense and we knew they would” Rhode Island captain Mike Casey said. “We sat back and waited to try and counterattack, but we couldn’t connect.”
Despite the heavy ball control displayed by Saint Louis, the Rams were up to the task in the first half stopping everything the Billikens shot at them. Saint Louis ended up putting eight shots up, with three coming on net, but freshman goalkeeper Nils Leifhelm was able to halt all of the attempts and give the Rams offense a chance. Â The Rams only mustered one shot-on-goal during the first half.
“We need to trust ourselves more on offense” sophomore defender Wesley Matthews said. “We need to capitalize on our chances.”
The second half was a defensive stalemate as neither team got much going. The Billikens still were able to get more offensive opportunities than the Rams, collecting four corner kicks, but only had one shot-on-goal.
The one attempt on net ended up being the difference maker when Bryce put a shot past Leifhelm to give the Billikens the 1-0 lead with just a few minutes left.
The Rams would not register a shot-on-goal all half and would end up getting called for eight fouls to just three for Saint Louis. The Rams also picked up their second yellow card of the game in the second half.
“I think our plan worked,” Rhode Island head coach Gareth Elliott said. “Sometimes that happens when you play on the road against tough teams. You do not always get the results.”
The Rams look to finish their regular season on a positive note as they travel to Duquesne next Sunday for an afternoon game against the seventh-best team in the Atlantic 10.