Dark clouds loomed over the Temple Sports Complex late Sunday evening as the Owls took on Rider University in their home opener.
Despite the threatening clouds, the fans stayed dry for the entirety of the game. Just as it looked downpour was imminent, Temple’s offensive pressure seemed sure to produce a goal. And yet, just like the rain, a Temple goal never came.
After a scoreless 90 minutes, it took Rider University just three minutes and 23 seconds in overtime to score the winning goal and defeat Temple 1-0. The Owls fell to 1-2-1 for the season. The loss is Temple’s first at home since 2015. The Owls had an 8-0-2 record for the 2016 season at home since moving to the Temple Sports Complex.
“If you don’t score, then any little mistake comes back to hurt you,” coach David MacWilliams said.
It only took two mistakes by the Owls to lead to Rider’s goal in overtime. Temple couldn’t win a ball in the air in front of its net, nor could they clear it. With redshirt-senior goalkeeper Alex Cagle far off his line, a chip shot by Rider sophomore forward Clement Bourret put the ball up and over Cagle and into the net.
“It’s a tough loss,” Cagle said. “The goal was very shaky, but overall, I thought we were pretty solid on defense.”
Temple narrowly outshot Rider 12-11, but put more shots on target than the Broncs did. The Owls ended the night with six shots on goal compared to Rider’s two.
Temple averages 14.8 shots per game but only has three goals in four contests.
“We’re not scoring goals,” MacWilliams said. “We’re not finishing. We need more quality opportunities, but when we get them, we’ve got to put them away.”
Sophomore forward Thibault Candia shot four times throughout the game, and two of his shots were on target. Senior forward Joonas Jokinen added two shots to the count for Temple, as did sophomore midfielder Albert Moreno.
Despite several opportunities, the Owls struggled to find the back of the net. One of the most significant lost chances came with two minutes remaining in regulation. Moreno crossed the ball to sophomore forward Lukas Fernandes in front of the net with the the Broncs’ goalie off his line. Fernandes took the shot, but senior goalkeeper David Pastuna saved it. Pastuna ended the night with six saves.
Temple has scored three times in four games. Through their first four games last season, the Owls had already scored 10 goals.
“I’m going to be frustrated because it’s not like I can go score, but I’m confident in our offense,” Cagle said. “We have Joonas up top, we have Thibault, who’s just starting to find his way and so I think they have a lot of opportunities together once they start to link up.”
Until the offense finds its groove, the Owls will rely heavily on their defense, which kept Rider scoreless throughout regulation. Temple’s next game is in Queens, New York against Saint John’s on Saturday.
“They played well, but at the end of the day, it’s not good enough,” MacWilliams said. “Because at the very worst, we should come away with a tie.”