Playing with a man advantage for 63 minutes turned out to be just the recipe for the Michigan men’s soccer team in its 4-1 victory at home over Northeastern on Sunday.

With 18 minutes remaining in the first half, after catching a cross attempt, Northeastern goalie Oliver Blum proceeded to kick Michigan freshman forward James Murphy in the chest after he fell and was on the ground.

This play resulted in a red card for Blum and a penalty kick for the Wolverines. Junior midfielder Fabio Pereira nailed the penalty kick in the right corner to make the score 2-0. Though Blum’s kick appeared to have been an accident, it was a game-changing swing for Michigan.

Along with giving the Wolverines a 2-0 lead and momentum, the red card, and ensuing ejection, gave Michigan a man advantage for the remainder of the game. Aside from a late first-half goal by the Huskies, they stubbled for the rest of the game with just 10 men.

“The (penalty kick) gave us a little cushion to relax a little bit and there are not many games we’ve played from ahead where we can relax for a long period of time,” said Michigan coach Chaka Daley.

The Wolverines maintained and retained possession with ease and dominated the time of possession on the stat sheet. One noticeable effect of Michigan’s advantage was the shot totals for both teams. In the first half, alone, the Wolverines tallied 12 shots compared to Northeastern’s four. The totals for the game ended up being 20-7 in Michigan’s favor.

And even with the man up, the Wolverines said they never felt they had a real advantage.

“Usually after a red card, a lot of people assume it’s going to be easier, but that’s not usually the case,” said senior defenseman Kofi Opare. “Opposing teams work harder to fight for the victory. I think we did a good job of playing our game from beginning to end, and we played with a lot of confidence.”

The ejection also heated up the tempers of both teams for the rest of the game. More than once, especially in the second half, players exchanged harsh words when they got fired up.

Northeastern’s troubles culminated during a corner kick with 27 minutes remaining in the second half. Northeastern defenseman Johnathon Eckford and Michigan senior defenseman Latif Alashe pushed each other back and forth, ultimately leaving Alashe on the ground and Eckford with a yellow card.

“After halftime, coach addressed us in the locker room and the thing was that they were going to fall in the box and get some calls their way and we just had to be smart about that,” Pereira said. “I think we did a good job.”

At halftime, Daley said he encouraged the players to just focus on winning the game and not to worry about the escalating hostilities.

“(With a man advantage) you want to use your energy to win the game. Let the coaching staff deal with the referee,” Daly said.

The referee ended up pulling aside both players and talking to them. But the physicality wasn’t a negative or surprising factor for the Wolverines.

“That’s soccer,” Opare said. “(Physicality) is bound to happen. People did a good job of staying focused after that scuffle. We played our game. I think we did a good job overall.”

Michigan seemed happy to escape with the victory without any casualties from all the fouls and no temporary troubles. Because of the red card, Blum will have to sit out another match. A Husky 62nd- minute yellow card brought their count to one red and two yellows, but then Murphy picked up one of his own in the 84th-minute for kicking the ball out of bounds after the play was over.

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