Michigan didn’t fall apart until the 90th minute.
The 24th-ranked Wolverines (4-1-1 Big Ten, 7-4-2 overall) had been outplayed prior to that, with No. 7 Notre Dame (9-2-1 ACC, 3-1-1 overall) dominating possession and leading 2-1. But when Fighting Irish forward Jon Gallagher sprinted past the defense on a counterattack as time wound down, they finally folded. Gallagher got all the way to Michigan’s 18-yard box before he was fouled by Wolverine sophomore defender Abdou Samake. Yellow card, penalty kick, game, set, match.
The Michigan men’s soccer team fell 3-1 in South Bend, Ind. on Tuesday night. This loss snapped a two-game win streak and drops the Wolverines’ to 3-3-1 in non-conference games.
Neither team scored until the 55th minute. Notre Dame strung together two light, arching passes inside Michigan’s box. Then it was forward Jeff Farina who slammed it home off a half volley to give the Fighting Irish a lead.
The Wolverines managed to tie the game 10 minutes later. Sophomore forward Jack Hallahan skittered in a cross from the right side and junior midfielder Robbie Mertz flew in unmarked for the finish. For a fleeting moment, Michigan had momentum. It didn’t last long enough.
Notre Dame took the lead for good in the 81st minute. Farina found Gallagher with a pass that cut through Michigan’s defense. Despite a tough angle, the senior forward’s shot flew past Wolverine sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Verdi and into the back of the net.
Michigan’s best chance to equalize came with two minutes to go. The ball came free in the box off a Wolverine corner and fell to junior defender Peter Brown. For a brief second, there was space for a shot. But a Fighting Irish defender stepped in front before Brown could take advantage. Then came Gallagher’s final knife to the heart.
Early in the game, Michigan had its chances. However, the Wolverines couldn’t do much with them. Junior forward Francis Atuahene accounted for their’ best chance in the 31st minute, cutting to the middle from outside the box and uncorking a missile. It flew wide left. As the game wore on, the absence of junior midfielder Ivo Cerda, out due to a suspension, was felt.
“We missed him for energy within the team, to keep the game lively. We were very very good in the first half,” said Michigan coach Chaka Daley. “As the second half wore on, we got a little bit tired and would have been good to have another experienced player.”
Though the Wolverines had 12 shots on the game to Notre Dame’s 11, just three were on goal. One was Mertz’s goal, while the other two were from freshman forward Mahammed Zakyi early on. Those were easily saved by the Fighting Irish’s Chris Hubbard.
“Soccer’s made up of maybe four of five moments (per game),” Daley said. “They had four or five moments in the whole game and they scored on three of them. We had four big moments in the game and we scored on one of them.”