THE OPENING KICK:
Coming off a road result against a nationally ranked foe, Cleveland State will open its home slate against a familiar foe.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
Robert Morris dropped a pair of matches at home this past weekend, falling to Oakland and Bowling Green (who incidentally are CSU's next two opponents after RMU). The Colonials were picked sixth in the Northeast Conference preseason coaches poll. Lorenzo Guagneli earned All-NEC Rookie Team accolades last season as the defensive midfielder started all 17 matches.
Cleveland State is 6-4-0 in its past 10 home openers with the team's most recent draw in a home opener occurring in 2008 (3-3 vs. Niagara) … The Vikings are 2-2 in home openers vs. Robert Morris all-time, including a 3-1 win in 2017 … CSU will be seeking to get back in the home-opening win column after dropping a 2-0 decision to Cincinnati in its 2018 home opener.
AGAINST THIS OPPONENT:
Cleveland State is 10-6-0 all-time against Robert Morris … CSU won the two most recent meetings in 2016 and 2017 and is 3-2-0 against the Colonials in the past 10 seasons … The programs will be meeting for the fourth time in the last five seasons, but they did not meet last year.
LAST TIME OUT:
Cleveland State earned a 2-2 tie at defending ACC champion Louisville in its season opener this past weekend. The result was even more impressive considering the Vikings trailed 2-0 with fewer than 20 minutes to play but used a pair of late goals to equalize. Sophomore Jannis Schmidt had CSU's first goal and then assisted on Gabriel Pewu's tying strike.
ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL:
Trailing 2-0 with under 20 minutes to play last time out at Louisville, Cleveland State rallied to earn a result. It was the first time in CSU's last 50 matches that it had rallied from a multi-goal deficit to earn a result. The most recent such occurrence before Friday came at Robert Morris in August 2016. CSU has now come from behind to earn a result at least once in 14 consecutive seasons and has achieved the feat on the road in nine straight seasons.
ALRIGHT AGAINST ACC:
In earning a 2-2 tie against Louisville to open its season, Cleveland State secured a result against an ACC side for the fourth time in the last five seasons. The Vikings took down a pair of Power Five sides last season, notching wins over Ohio State and Pittsburgh.
NEW VIKINGS MAKE DEBUTS:
A trio of Cleveland State newcomers—Nick McCausland, Omeed Naeemy and Andrew Nicholas—made their collegiate debuts in the season opener at Louisville. Naeemy played the entire match in goal while Nicholas also started and played 77 minutes in an attacking wing position. McCausland came off the bench to play 72 minutes on the back line.
LEADING THE CHARGE:
Cleveland State is under the direction of first-year head coach Sinisa Ubiparipovic in 2019. Ubiparipovic, who attended high school and college in Northeast Ohio, was elevated after previously serving as the program's top assistant. He appeared in over 200 professional soccer matches, including an even 100 in the Major League Soccer (MLS) ranks with New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact.
- The last seven Cleveland State head coaches combined to post a 5-0-2 record in their first game as the Vikings' head coach
- Vlad Jandric and Thomas M'Barek were both selected All-Horizon League Second Team in 2018
- It was the second straight season that Jandric earned all-conference honors
- Cleveland State returns 17 student-athletes from last year's roster, 16 of which competed in a match
- Six Vikings return that started at least 10 matches last season, with five of those six competing in at least 14 of the squad's 15 fixtures in 2018
- CSU has eight newcomers on the roster, four true freshmen and four transfers
- Thomas M'Barek was the only Viking to start all 15 matches last season
- Gabriel Pewu and Jannis Schmidt were the other returning Vikings to play in all 15 fixtures in 2018
- Cleveland State is facing at least one Big Ten opponent for the third straight year and an ACC foe for the fifth time in six seasons
- The Vikings will face four of the top 40 programs from last season's final RPI, including two of the top five
- Cleveland State has earned a top-four seed in the HL Tournament seven times since the league went to a six-team format, which is the highest such figure among its league peers
- Cleveland State won consecutive matches at Ohio State and at Pittsburgh last season, the first time since 1984 the Vikings won back-to-back matches against teams currently in a Power Five conference
- Cleveland State's win at Ohio State last season was its first victory over the Buckeyes since 1996 (though the sides have not played every year since then)
- With a 2-0 win at Ohio State last year, Cleveland State has now shut out a Power Five side in three of the past four seasons and six of the past nine
- The Vikings twice rallied from deficits to claim a 4-3 win at Pitt, scoring the winning goal with under six minutes remaining
- Forty five of Cleveland State's last 63 goals have come in the second half. In fact, 17 of those goals have taken place in the 77th minute or later
- Gabriel Pewu had six goals and an assist in the final 11 matches last season
- Vlad Jandric had a hat trick in last year's 3-1 win over UIC, the first by a Viking since 2013
- The Vikings were only outshot once in Horizon League play last season
- Among the 75 starts made by Vikings on defense or in goal last season: 31 starts were made by true freshman or redshirt freshman, 40 starts were made by sophomores with two starts by a junior and two by a senior
- Ryan Kolonick led all CSU freshmen with 11 starting assignments last season
- Thomas M'Barek was named Academic All-Horizon League in 2018
- Noah Pio has joined the Viking coaching staff as a student assistant after playing for CSU the past three seasons