The short story: Two goals apiece from sophomore winger Celio Pompeu and senior midfielder Oquin Robinson led the Rams to a dominant win, the 100th of head coach Dave Giffard‘s career, in the fall 2021 home opener.
- Giffard notched his 100th career win in his 12th season at the helm of the Rams.
- Pompeu’s brace gave the Brazilian a team-high three goals and seven points on the season.
- Robinson’s brace were his first two goals of the year after picking up an assist last time out at RV/#24 Charlotte.
- ETSU played with ten men for the final 32 minutes of the match after goalkeeper Cole Hunter received his second yellow card.
- In a physical match, the Bucs received eight total yellow cards.
- VCU out-shot ETSU by a 19-7 margin, and held a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Rams were dangerous right out of the gate, with Pompeu pinging a ball to redshirt freshman Ethan Manheim who turned and fired a shot from 20 yards just wide of the right post in the first minute.
- ETSU’s Hunter picked up his first yellow card in the 14th minute when he strayed outside of the box to pick up a ball. Robinson took the ensuing free kick, curling a shot over the wall and forcing a diving save.
- Moments later, the Bucs struck first on the counter. Gabriel Ramos played a long ball from midfield to Tarik Pannholzer, who cut in on his right foot and curled a shot to the lower right corner to put ETSU in front 1-0.
- In the 34th minute, Pompeu drew a foul in the box that resulted in a yellow card for ETSU’s Dominic Foster and a VCU penalty kick. Robinson stepped up to the spot and slotted home his first goal of the season to tie the match at 1-1.
- VCU’s fluid play continued into a dominant second half, with a quality chance coming in the 50th minute. Robinson threaded a perfectly-weighted ball to freshman midfielder Damian Gallegos on the right wing, where he played a dangerous cross that senior forward Biska Biyombo nearly redirected into the goal as he slid through the six-yard box.
- In the 57th minute, Pompeu skillfully created space for himself in the box, and fired a shot just over the bar.
- Biyombo was in on goal in the 59th minute, and Hunter came off his line and fouled him with a sliding challenge, collecting his second yellow and forcing the Bucs to bring on Josh Perryman as a replacement goalkeeper. Pompeu took the ensuing free kick from 24 yards out, beautifully curling it into the top right corner to put the Rams in front 2-1.
- Robinson doubled his tally in the 67th minute, collecting a rebound from Manheim’s header off a corner kick and heading it into the back of the net form close range to push the lead to 3-1.
- Pompeu put a bow on the Rams’ scoring in the 74th minute, collecting a ball from redshirt junior midfielder Pierre Fiorre Mane, taking a deft touch around a defender, and slotting home a finish with his right foot.
QUOTING HEAD COACH DAVE GIFFARD
“Tonight was an interesting game. We started brightly but had more control than we have the first few games, and I think that lulled us into a false sense of security at 0-0. We knew coming in that ETSU was excellent in transition, and that the number nine was absolutely quality. We didn’t deal with it very well, and sure enough, he scored a very good goal. We kept playing through and got it back and then in the second half our quality shone through over time.”
The Rams open the Atlantic 10 slate with a road match at Rhode Island on Saturday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. from Kingston, R.I. Every A-10 match is broadcast on ESPN+.
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