After two disallowed goals, men’s soccer loses in overtime to Cleveland State


Tyler Gallo

Nathaniel David kicks a corner.

Owen Krepps

MOON TOWNSHIP– “You have got to be kidding me” and “that’s a joke” were two phrases that were uttered often by RMU men’s soccer head coach Jason O’Keefe Wednesday afternoon.

After two disallowed goals by the Colonials (3-9 overall, 3-4 Horizon), they fell in double-overtime to the Cleveland State Vikings (7-5 overall, 6-1) by a score of 1-0.

It was Pablo Kawecki for CSU who scored the game-winning goal in the second frame of the overtime period to crush RMU’s chances at a Horizon League upset.

“The guys left it all out there. It is a tough one, we have got to learn from it and we will,” assistant coach Matty Evans said of the loss. “This group is passionate about what they do and it is a great group of guys. We will be fine, we just have to rebound against VMI.”

This snaps RMU’s two-game winning streak in Horizon League play and the club is still looking for three-straight conference wins which they have not had since 2005. This game was perhaps the nail in the coffin for RMU’s chance at a postseason berth as well. They currently sit seventh in the Horizon League standings with three conference games left.

Despite the loss, this game was arguably one of RMU’s best performances on the pitch this season. Cleveland State entering averaged 2.83 goals per game and is one of the top teams in the Horizon League. RMU ran with the team and played some competitive soccer for over 100 minutes. RMU finished with five shots on net and CSU with 6.

The teams played a chess match back and forth both giving up little to no chances in the game. Robert Morris’ chances primarily came off of fast breaks from the likes of Bryan Akongo and company. On the other hand, Cleveland State generated offense from the six corner kicks they had.

Nearing the end of regulation in the 82nd minute RMU broke free and put one past CSU goalkeeper Omeed Naeemy. Owen Jowett pushed the ball past the goal line after receiving a pass from Lucas Shearer and celebrated. However, the call on the pitch was that the ball was kicked out of Naeemy’s hands and the goal was waved off. The RMU bench did not take kindly to the call and received a yellow card after some intense disputing.

The game moved on to overtime with RMU having a chip on their shoulder. Once again, they appeared to score with freshman Drew Kemper getting the goal. However, once more, the goal was waved off after the officials discussed it in a huddle. The ruling was that the ball was once again kicked out of the goalkeepers’ hands.

“We are proud of the way the team reacted [to the two disallowed goals]. They can’t control those circumstances and they have to keep going,” Evans said. “The group has been tenacious and they have been hungry and they are learning as they are an extremely young group. There is a lot of success to come from this group of players.”

Robert Morris did not score for the third time and finally was beaten by Cleveland State on their last life. Kawecki scored at exactly 104:38, ended the game, and promptly took his shirt off to celebrate the victory. Cleveland State now sits atop the Horizon Leauge standings.

Up next Robert Morris will be at home on Sunday where they face off against VMI in a non-conference game. Kickoff is slated for 2:00 at the North Athletic Conference and the game will be a fundraiser for Go4theGoal Pediatric Cancer.