Rapids Men get their first win of the season
By: Alex Husting
The Columbus Rapids Men’s team won their first match of the season this afternoon with a 3-2 victory over the Rome Gladiators. For the Rapids Women’s team, they jumped out to a 2-1 lead over Rome, but gave up three-straight Gladiators' goals to lose 4-2.
The Rapids Men were on the pitch first and got out to a hot start, scoring the first two goals of the match in the first half. The first came from a pass from goalkeeper Freddy Zamudio that went off the plexiglass and straight to Nial Torricelli who shot it through for the first goal of the contest.
Torricelli was involved again in the second quarter with a pass to Ethan Alur who found the back of the net from nearly midfield to put the Rapids up 2-0 heading into halftime.
Rome went on the attack in the second half with 10 shots in the third quarter, but Freddy Zamudio and the Rapids defense held strong and the Rapids maintained the 2-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
As time was running out on Rome, the Gladiators finally broke through the Rapids defense when Welder Castro, on a corner kick assist from Juan Rotjes, sent a shot over Zamudio’s head for the first Gladiators goal of the match.
Etahn Alur responded just over one minute later with his second goal of the afternoon to make it 3-1 with just over two minutes remaining, but Rome was not done yet. Rotjes took it himself and hit a shot from the left side to close the gap to one goal with 47 seconds remaining. In the end, Ethan Alur came up with a big clearing kick to end Rome’s chances and secure a 3-2 Rapids victory.
The Rapids attempted 15 shots during the match, including two in the fourth quarter while the Gladiators attempted 25 shots, including 18 in the second half. The difference in the match came from the performance of Freddy Zamudio in goal for the Rapids.
Zamudio had 17 shots against, saving 15 and giving him an 88.2% save percentage. Zamudio and the Rapids Men’s defense were key in stopping the Rome offense and giving the men’s team their first win in history.
The Rapids Women’s team were on the pitch next to warm up for their matchup with the Gladiators Women’s team. The Gladiators were coming off an 11-2 victory of the Fury last week and the Rapids lost to the Americans 4-5 last week.
The first quarter saw no goals scored but the Gladiators were putting pressure on the Rapids defense with seven shot attempts.
Scoring began in the second quarter when Allisson Wetherington scored unassisted to give Rome a 1-0 lead. The Rapids came right back with a goal from Olivia Jarrell, the Rapids leading scorer, on an assist from Casey Hall to tie it up heading into halftime.
The Gladiators were in control on the offensive end with 19 shot attempts to Columbus’ 10, but they could not take advantage of scoring opportunities in the first half.
Midway through the third quarter, Jarrell found the back of the net again, this time on an assist from team captain Brittney Conway to give Columbus the lead.
Rome’s offense came alive following this with two goals scored within two minutes of each other. The first came from Morgan Harrison, his first goal of the season, to tie the match up and then Callie O’Connor scored her third goal of the year to give Rome a 3-2 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
After a high-scoring third quarter, Rome went with a defensive game plan, holding the ball in their territory and only attempting three shots in the entire quarter. This strategy worked throughout the quarter, limiting the Rapids’ scoring opportunities and forcing the offense to take risks.
Early in the fourth, there was a large scuffle between Rapids and Gladiator players, resulting in yellow cards for Carlie Banks, Rome’s leading scorer, and Olivia Jarrell. Both players headed to the box for a five minute penalty.
The remainder of the quarter truly was a defensive battle with the Rapids struggling to find holes in the Rome defense. Eventually, Karlie Banks was able to find an opening for Rome and score her first goal of the afternoon, effectively sealing the match for the Gladiators.
Rome goalkeeper Victoria Saah finished with two goals allowed and 9 saves on 11 shots while Rapids goalkeeper Bria Rancho finished with four goals allowed but 15 saves on 19 total shots.
The Rapids will now go on the road to Memphis to take on the Americans once again on Saturday, January 22. Tickets for that match are on sale here and kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. EST.
Season tickets for all Rapids home matches inside the Columbus Civic Center are available here.
You can watch the match in its entirety on the NISL Youtube channel.
ABOUT NATIONAL INDOOR SOCCER LEAGUE (NISL):
The National Indoor Soccer League, which has its league office in Georgia, was founded in January 2021 by a group of experienced sports team/league owners with over 40 years of ownership experience. The NISL has plans to grow the league nationally within the next three years and will kick off its inaugural season in December 2021. The league will operate a Men's & Women's division with each market fielding both teams. Fans will be able to watch a men’s and women’s game each gameday. For more information, go to nislpro.com.