Sophomore-forward Cesare Marconi showed his quality by scoring two goals and creating another in the Retrievers’ comeback win over the Rutgers’ Scarlet Knights in the second game of the men’s soccer season. He said after the game that when Coach Caringi III showed him a video of the 3,766 fans cheering on UMBC last year, he knew he had to come here. He dazzled 2,828 adoring fans on Monday with two great goals and a shirt off celebration. The victory shows the spirit and fight in this team as they won the game after falling back 1-0 and 2-1.
In the first half, UMBC started timidly and were outshot by Rutgers. Rutgers’ defense was very aggressive in tackles, with 11 fouls. Senior midfielder Patrick Jean-Gilles started most Retriever attacks in the half with his incisive passing, and he suffered a lot of fouls. However, the Scarlet Knights took the lead in the 33rd minute as their forward Brian Hawkins scored over UMBC sophomore-goalie Ciaran O’Loughlin. UMBC had an opportunity to tie the game as Marconi had a free-kick saved by the Rutgers goalkeeper, and the Retrievers ended the half down 1-0.
In the second half, the Retrievers rode the tackles of the Knights better and took their chances. Rutgers earned three yellow cards from persistent fouling. Marconi scored a free-kick from 25 yards to tie the game in the 51st minute. Rutgers quickly took the lead again in the 57th minute, with a goal from Jordan Hall. However, UMBC tied the game again through a Rutgers own goal from Marconi’s corner kick in the 66th minute. It looked like UMBC would go behind a third time when their opponents were awarded a penalty kick, but Rutgers-defender Mazzucato’s kick hit the crossbar.
The game-winner came in the 72nd minute when Jean-Gilles played a long pass that was headed down by freshman-forward Jackson Becher and finished by Marconi from the edge of the box in the 71st minute.
“Today was important to show that this is our field, we decide how [the game will go]”, goalscoring hero Marconi said after the game. “We were coming off a very difficult win against Temple. We are all hungry [to win]”.
“It was a great headed assist from Jackson [Becher],” he said on his game-winning goal.
“Unbelievable crowd!” he said about the turnout. “No one has fans like this. Where I came from in [Italy], there isn’t that much of a crowd and I like to play in front of a crowd which is why I [celebrated flamboyantly]. They will be the twelfth man for us. I am very proud to have chosen UMBC. I am happy that Pete Caringi III called me for this experience because I think it’s going to change my life.”
“We came from behind two times, the UMBC way”, captain Jean-Gilles said. “Rutgers were [sic] ready to go after their loss against Loyola. But they got frustrated because of how much heart and fight we had [after many fouls].”
“I swung it in [to Becher] because I knew we would get to the ball first,” he said on his assist. “[Marconi] hit a banger on the keeper. The team is ready to take that next step, to win a championship. Crowd was beautiful. Great energy.”
“The second half was more like how we want to play”, Coach Caringi said. “And so was the result. To have two wins with [many injuries to starters] is great for us. We played poorly in the first half. Guys were probably nervous with the big crowd. We had no flow to our midfield and tried to be too cute with the ball.”
“Brilliant!” Caringi said on Marconi’s performance. “How about that kid! This is the making of a big-time player. Thank you to the fans [as well]. Best fans in the country! We dreamed of [having crowds like this].”