Five minutes into the game, the home crowd was providing energy and chanting fight songs to get the Michigan men’s soccer team hyped up. The away crowd was large as well and creating noise since the away team was an hour away since the away team was practically down the road.
The Wolverines (5-4-2 overall, 2-1-1 Big Ten) played the Spartans (4-5-2, 0-2-2) at home, on Tuesday night in a blue out. Looking for its third straight Big Ten victory, Michigan State scored an own goal in the first three minutes to give Michigan an early 1-0 lead.
After the early goal, both teams exchanged chances. The first half was relatively even, with Michigan and Michigan State getting similar amounts of possession time. The difference in the first half was that the Wolverines were able to get three shots on net, while the Spartans got none.
Michigan found graduate defender Umar Farouk Osman in front of the net but Michigan State’s goaltender Hunter Morse dove right for a glove save to keep the game within reach for his team.
The Spartans’ best chance came 34 minutes into the first 45, when midfielder Jacob Cromer nearly tied the game, but his shot was just a few inches above the crossbar. After Michigan State’s scoring opportunity, the Wolverines’ controlled the tempo for the remainder of the first half with their final three shots coming in a five-minute span. Wolverines junior forward Christian Pulselli nearly made it a 2-0 game heading into halftime, but his shot grazed the side crossbar.
At halftime, Michigan led the Spartans, 1-0. The Wolverines finished the half with a 6-3 shot advantage.
“I thought we started the game very brightly, we ran on the front foot carrying the momentum,” Michigan coach Chaka Daley said. “We know the emotion is so high, the crowd is great, both sides of fans came out to support their teams in a great way, as it’s one of the premier games in this league for sure.”
Early in the second half, Michigan State got the ball in Michigan’s zone to set up a scoring opportunity. Spartan defender Kellan Landefeld set up forward Farai Mutatu on the right side of the goal to kick an angled shot that just landed into the inside of the crossbar to tie the game.
Michigan State’s two goals came in a span of less than three minutes at the 49th and 52nd minute. It appeared the momentum was shifting. The Spartans’ had more shots in the first ten minutes of the second half-four-than they did in the entire first half. Michigan State scored again on a nice passing play. Midfielder Jack Beck found defender Nick Stone in front of the net to beat Michigan freshman goaltender Hayden Evans to make it a 2-1 Spartans lead.
“I think it’s a game of momentum, where we had all of the momentum for the first 45 minutes, and then they had the momentum literally coming out of the locker room for probably the first 15 or 20 minutes of the second half,” Daley said.
Twenty minutes into the second half, the Wolverines got their first true scoring opportunity in a penalty kick. Wolverines’ midfielder Marc Ybarra shot in front of traffic, yet his teammates were unable to capitalize on the loose ball.
The Spartans’ moved the ball down the field to find Mutatu again for another scoring opportunity. This time, Evans made a diving save with his leg to keep the score at 2-1.
The Wolverines continued to struggle to contain Mutatu, as he again had another opportunity all alone, but two Michigan defenders barely deflected his wide open shot.
With the time winding down, Michigan attempted to get more chances downfield. Osman sent his pass deep into the opposing box, where it found the head of Wolverines junior defender Brennan Callow, who head butted it in to tie the game in the 81st minute.
Michigan had a chance to gain the lead as they clock wound down, as it had a two on one opportunity but missed the side of the net, sending the game into overtime. In the first overtime, both teams had scoring chances but failed to capitalize on their opportunities. In the second overtime, Mutati was one on one with a Wolverine defender in front of the net but fanned on his shot left, keeping the game tied.
Despite strong efforts from both teams, the game ended in a draw.
“We’re not delighted that we tied, but certainly to keep them (Michigan State) at two points and we go to seven (points in the ranking), we’ll live with that,” Daley said.