One word keeps coming up when describing the Michigan men’s soccer team: unlucky. After losing three of its last four matches in overtime, the Wolverines suffered another disappointing loss against Western Michigan.
The Wolverines dropped the match 2-1 due to a slow start, as the Broncos dominated the first half offensively but did not manage to score. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Tim Bergsma made his first start of the season, stopping three shots in the first half, but the Wolverines did not make it easy for him.
“We definitely struggled in the first half — we tried to gain some momentum in the second half, and we did,” said senior defender Eric Leifland. “I think we outplayed them in the second half. We tried to go at them at the flanks and go around them. We were just unlucky in the box.”
The second half saw a different Michigan team, one that matched the aggressive pace Western Michigan set in the first half. Despite the increased level of play, Bronco junior forward Yllson Asani headed a free kick into the right corner of the goal just two minutes into the frame.
Michigan responded 10 minutes later when junior midfielder David Yang scored his first career goal with an assist from sophomore forward Ezekiel Harris to tie the match at 1-1.
“Great for David Yang,” said Michigan coach Steve Burns said. “He worked his socks off today and continued to try and get in behind their defense and he struck a real nice shot.”
The Wolverines and Broncos battled it out for more than 20 scoreless minutes. Leifland led the Michigan defense, keeping Western Michigan to only two shots in the second half. With less than 10 minutes remaining when freshman defender Kyle Farris scored his first-career goal to put Western Michigan ahead, 2-1.
In the last 10 minutes of the match, the Wolverines struggled aggressively, collecting two yellow cards after failed attempts to gain control. Michigan simply couldn’t change its luck.
“Sometimes you need luck to win games and so far luck has not been on our side,” Harris said.
According to Harris, 80 percent of this young team is playing together for the first time and still searching for their luck. Michigan is 1-1 in the Big Ten, but it still has time to make a conference run.
“We’ve always known we are capable,” Harris said. “That’s one thing we don’t question. It’s just getting results. That’s the only thing holding us back so far.”