Sophomore forward Umar Farouk Osman netted two goals in a showing that propelled the Michigan men’s soccer team (1-0-0 Big Ten, 5-1-0 overall) to a victory over Rutgers (0-1-0, 1-4-1), 2-0 on Friday night. Michigan coach Chaka Daley spoke glowingly of the Wolverines’ newest star after the game, who has already matched his scoring total from all of last season with four.
“He was definitely on the crest of the hill last year,” Daley said. “And now he’s growing leaps and bounds and getting some confidence by scoring a few goals. And as a result of that, it’s given him the confidence to shoot and take chances.”
Osman launched a booming kick from outside the box off a perfect pass from sophomore forward Mohammed Zakyi that curled into the top left corner of the net to give Michigan a 1-0 advantage in the 62nd minute.
“I looked up at the goal and just bended it, top corner,” Osman said when discussing the play.
The Wolverines doubled their lead just four minutes later when Osman tapped in a ball that had been deflected by a Rutgers defender on a Michigan throw-in. While it wasn’t nearly as impressive as his first goal, it still gave the Wolverines a much-needed cushion as they were able to cruise for the rest of the match.
While Michigan dominated the scoreboard, the game was not without its tough moments. Rutgers nearly had a chance to score on a corner attempt that clanked off the post, and the Wolverines struggled to get into an offensive rhythm despite controlling possession for the majority of the first half.
“I think we’ve just shown great togetherness, great resiliency,” Daley said. “Every game they’ve had their tough moments, and I think they’ve just stuck together and we’ve been very unselfish. We’ve worked hard for each other, we compete for each other, and we’ve just found a way in each of these games.”
While Michigan has a five-game win streak on paper, Daley and his squad truly only care about one win in their record: Rutgers. That one match marks the number of wins the Wolverines have in Big Ten play thus far, after starting conference play with a win in one of the toughest conferences in college soccer.
“The season starts over, and fortunately we’re 1-0,” Daley said. “We don’t worry (about) all the others, five in a row, that’s out of our system. We’re just 1-0, we’re just worried about the Big Ten right now. We’re 1-0 in the Big Ten, we have our noses in front, and we have a lot of work to do. It’s a long season and a lot of tough opponents ahead.”