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 Rhode Island FC

Rhode Island FC Falls 3-1 at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

May 17, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Rhode Island FC News Release


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - An early Frank Nodarse goal was not enough for Rhode Island FC as the club fell 3-1 against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Weidner Field on Friday. After falling behind 1-0, the hosts rallied behind a Ronaldo Damus brace and an RIFC own goal to hand the Ocean State club its third loss of the USL Championship season.

After a positive start on the attack, Rhode Island FC (1W-3L-6D) found a breakthrough early, striking in the 13th minute to take the lead. The goal came from a Jack Panayotou corner kick, which looped dangerously into the six-yard box and found the head of Nodarse, who powered home the header from close range for his first career RIFC goal. The assist from the corner for Panayotou was his second in as many USL Championship starts after joining the club on loan from Major League Soccer side New England Revolution.

Panayotou would continue to cause problems for the Colorado Springs (4W-5L-1D) defense as the first half went on, sending a nearly identical corner kick to the back post in the 26th minute that found a wide-open Stephpen Turnbull. Unfortunately for Turnbull, he couldn't get his feet set in time as he dragged a shot wide of the woodwork.

Restarting play quickly after RIFC's corner kick, the hosts would make their way down the other end and equalize one minute later. Receiving the ball on the right wing, Ronaldo Damus dribbled his way into the 18-yard box before sending the ball past Koke Vegas at the near post and into the top right corner for his team-leading fifth goal of the season to level the contest at 1-1. Both squads ended the first half with five shots apiece, but could not find the back of the net again before heading into the locker room.

Six minutes into the second half, Panayotou found himself in open space outside the 18-yard box. Taking advantage of the lack of pressure, the midfielder unleashed a powerful shot that forced a sharp first save of the match out of Colorado Springs goalkeeper Christian Herrera in what was the first shot on target of the half for either team.

Despite a period of dangerous attacking momentum for RIFC following Panayotou's shot, it was Colorado Springs who found the go-ahead goal in the 65th minute. Driving into the box with a solo run from the right wing, Jonas Fjeldberg utilized his physicality and quick footwork to cut through the RIFC back line and send a dangerous ball across the face of goal. In front of the open net, the low cross struck the leg of Karifa Yao, who could only watch as the ball redirected into the back of the net for an own goal to give the homeside a 2-1 lead.

As the final whistle approached, Damus continued his red-hot form, converting a penalty after drawing a foul in the box in the 87th minute to seal the Colorado Springs' fourth-straight win. Stepping up to take the spot-kick, Damus sent Vegas guessing the wrong way, completing his second brace of the year with a confident finish to the top right corner to make it 3-1. The goal was Damus' third from the penalty mark in as many matches and sealed RIFC's third loss of the season.

Up next, RIFC will look to rebound as it returns to Beirne Stadium on Saturday, May 25 to host Louisville City FC. Tickets to the match are available now at rhodeislandfc.com/tickets. After hosting Louisville, the RIFC Fan Bus will depart for the club's inaugural Rhode Trip to Hartford Athletic on Saturday, June 1. Fans interested in attending the first-ever derby match are encouraged to email tickets@rhodeislandfc.com or call 401-955-RIFC (7432) to secure a seat on the RIFC Fan Bus!

GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN

RI - Frank Nodarse (Jack Panayotou), 13th minute: Nodarse takes advantage of a Panayotou corner kick with a header for the goal. COS 0, RI 1

COS - Ronaldo Damus, 27th minute: Damus drills home the ball at the near post. COS 1 RI 1

COS - Karifa Yao (Own Goal), 65th minute: Jonas Fjeldburg's cross bounces off the leg of Yao and into the back of his own net. COS 2 RI 1

COS - Ronaldo Damus, 87th minute: Damus secures a brace via penalty kick. COS 3 RI 1

ADDITIONAL NOTES

Jack Panayotou's assist to Frank Nodarse's opening goal was his second in as many USL Championship matches. Both assists came from corner kicks.

Nodarse's goal was his first-ever for RIFC, and the second of his USL Championship career. Both of his USL Championship career goals were scored against Colorado Springs at Weidner Field, the first of which came as a member of Rio Grande FC Toros on May 5, 2022.

Nodarse became the fifth RIFC player to find the back of the net in USL Championship play this season.

RIFC's early goal was the first goal conceded by Colorado in 329 USL Championship minutes and broke the club's three-match shutout streak. It was also the first time the Western Conference club trailed during a league match in more than a month, dating back to its 1-0 loss vs. Phoenix Rising FC on April 13.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Frank Nodarse

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