The Floodgates Opened as the Owls Take Care of Manhattan in Their Home opener

Written By: Owen Boyle

Photo Courtesy of: @Temple_Msoc

Two second-half goals propelled Temple to their first win of the season, remaining unbeaten in this year’s first three games.

The cherry and white came into this match with a record of 0-0-2. The Jaspers of Manhattan started their season with a win and a loss.

The Owls played their first two games of the season on the road, recording two hard-fought, 0-0 draws against number 10 ranked Seton Hall and Rutgers.

Goalie Eoin Gawronski came up clutch with two-point-saving penalty kick stops in overtime of both matches. Gawronski has saved three consecutive penalty kick attempts dating back to the Owls’ final scrimmage of the preseason.

Temple controlled the opening phases of the match. Their strong play was rewarded with an early goal.

Nigel Griffith pounced on a defensive mistake from the Jaspers and slotted the ball into the back of the net.

This was Temple’s first goal of the season after just over 230 minutes of scoreless soccer. Griffith shined for the Owls during the second half of last season, tying for the team lead in assists.

The Owls continued to dominate possession, creating the most dangerous chances of the half. Jalen Campbell, Nigel Griffith, and Luka Kozomara all came close to doubling the lead.

A moment of magic got the Manhattan Jaspers level in the 38th minute.

Johan Velez produced a highlight reel bicycle kick that eluded Eoin Gawronski and leveled that match at one. 

“Everybody saw that we were the better side, ” said Mike Eijgendaal. “We just gave up a stupid goal.”

The Owls and Jaspers went into the halftime interval knotted up at one.

Temple came out of the half firing on all cylinders and would grab the lead less than 10 minutes in.

Andres Charles’ shot from inside the box was stopped by Danny DiMarco, but Marques Antoine was on the spot to smash home the rebound.

This was the Maryland transfer’s first goal for the cherry and white.

The Owls doubled their lead just three minutes later in the 56th minute. Mike Eijgendaal finished off a through ball from Nigel Griffith for his first goal of the campaign.

“It’s always nice to get three goals at home,” said Eijgendaal. And it’s always nice to get a goal for yourself.”

Just 10 minutes later, Brandon Joseph-Buadi was sent off for Manhattan after receiving a second yellow card.

The Owls created two solid chances while up a man. Alex Marin’s partial breakaway was skied over the net and Kemali Green’s partial breakaway was stopped nicely by DiMarco.

Manhattan’s discipline went from bad to worse in the 77th minute. Both Dorian Bounab and Mathys Kuntz were shown red cards for dissent. The Jaspers would play the final 13 minutes with just eight players.

Temple could not find the back of the net while up three men, but were denied by the post and a great save from DiMarco.

The full-time whistle blew and the Owls picked up their first win of the 2021 campaign. 

“I was happy with our defensive pressure,” said coach Brian Rowland. “Going forward we created a lot of chances that should have translated to a few more goals.”

The Owls finished the match with 16 shots, six of those were on target. They outshot the Jaspers 10-1 in the second half.

In the attacking phase of the game, Nigel Griffith starred for the cherry and white, collecting a goal and an assist.

On the defensive end of the ball, Luka Kozomara stood out for the Owls. The freshman was awarded his first start by head coach Brian Rowland. 

“I thought he was very good,” said Rowland. “We are confident in him and comfortable with him playing. He’s a talented player that does a lot of good things.”

The unbeaten Owls will look to continue their momentum into next weekend’s match with Philadelphia Soccer Six rival Villanova.  

“It’s going to feel like a championship-type game,” said Rowland. “The match will have a lot of emotion, typical for a Philly rivalry game.”

The Owls’ second home match of the year will kick off next Saturday at 7 against the rival Wildcats.

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