Monday, the Michigan men’s soccer team hosted Loyola University Chicago. The Wolverines rallied in the second half, overcoming a halftime deficit to win 2-1, their first home win of the season.
The first half was largely dominated by the Ramblers. They struck first, 11 minutes into the game. Midfielder Oscar Dueso sent a long pass to forward John Gates, who beat three Michigan defenders to put it in the goal.
While Loyola got going offensively, its defense held the Wolverines to only two shots. Their defensive scheme forced Michigan to take shots from the corners instead of getting quality chances in front.
In the middle of the first half, junior forward Evan Rasmussen sent a pass toward the box where junior forward Moshtaba Al-Hasnawi was wide open, but the timing of the pass was off, and the chance was lost. These mistakes plagued the Wolverines as the offense sputtered in the first half.
“I think for us it is important that we are aggressive and unselfish,” Michigan coach Chaka Daley said. “I think those are the two things that we want to remind the players about.”
After the intermission, The Wolverines came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders. Michigan matched its first half shot count in the first two minutes of the second half.
Accurate passes led to longer possessions and scoring opportunities. Fifth-year senior midfielder Marc Ybarra drew a penalty kick and scored to tie the game at one.
“At halftime, we talked about being aggressive in our mindset and how we play,” Daley said. “The second half was very frantic for their back three and as a result, they made a couple mistakes. Fortunately, we took advantage of those mistakes.”
Michigan held Loyola nearly shotless in the second half, with the Ramblers lone opportunity coming in the 64th minute. The Loyola attacker found himself one-on-one with the goalie, but freshman goalkeeper Hayden Evans came up with a big save to keep the game tied.
Four minutes later, the Wolverines capitalized on an opportunity of their own. Michigan had good movement in front of the opposing net, leading to a goal from junior forward Inaki Rodriguez on a pass from freshman defenseman Jason Buckner, giving the Wolverines a 2-1 lead.
For the rest of the second half, Michigan played aggressive defense and kept the Ramblers outside of the offensive zone.
All in all, the Wolverines held on for the win, but left something to be desired.
“We created mistakes for Loyola late in the game and stole a goal,” Daley said. “We are now creating them in the run of play, so now we can put together a full performance. We are gonna have to start (putting together full performances) as our games get more challenging, certainly when the Big Ten slate starts.”