OAKLAND, Mich. — The win against West Virginia last weekend was a brief hiatus from the frustration that has become the Michigan men’s soccer season. The team’s second overtime game in a row didn’t end with the heroics of the past weekend. This time the team tied Oakland with goose eggs on either side of the scoreboard Tuesday night.
Oakland slightly controlled the first half because of Michigan hand balls and fouls that forced the ball back into Michigan’s half. Oakland forward Shawn Claud Lawson got the first shot off in the 10th minute, managing to pull an ultimately unsuccessful corner.
Overall Michigan had trouble maintaining possession in Oakland’s half, losing many headers to the Grizzlies. At the half, Oakland led the game with eight shots. Michigan had just five.
The second half saw a dramatic increase in speed of play and passion from the Michigan side.
“I thought the passion was greater in the second half,” said Michigan coach Chaka Daley said. “We moved it and we connected it. I thought we dug ourselves out of the hole we created in the first half and essentially kept the ball in their half.”
Michigan threatened in the half when Fabio Pereira fired a swift shot to the left, but Oakland’s goalkeeper came up with a diving save, one of two on the night.
Junior midfielder Marcos Ugarte, who had been providing much needed speed down the left side of the field for Michigan, was injured halfway through the second half on a blocked cross and had to leave for the remainder of the game.
Michigan tried to capitalize on its corner kicks as regulation drew to a close. Freshman midfielder Brett Nason fired a cross to sophomore midfielder Colin McAtee, the hero of last game, for a shot that went wide of Oakland’s goal.
Again Michigan missed a chance to end the game with 1:30 remaining with a header from sophomore forward James Murphy that dinged off the crossbar.
In overtime, Michigan kept its momentum, getting a shot on goal in the first minute.
Oakland responded with two quick shots and redshirt junior goalkeeper Adam Grinwis saved both in extraordinary fashion. This was Grinwis’s first shutout of the season, and he finished with 10 saves, his season high.
Passions and tempers started to run high as the referees continued to make few calls that Michigan agreed with. Daley was almost ejected and two separate foreheads-pressed-together moments between players occurred in the first half of overtime.
“We are disappointed that we weren’t protected enough by the referee but those things happen and we dealt with it and moved on,” Daley said.
In the last 10 seconds of the first overtime session, senior forward Malcolm Miller broke away, pulling the Oakland keeper to the top of the 18-yard box, resulting in a collision that gave Miller a controversial yellow card. It was the third of four for the night, two to the Grizzlies and the fourth to freshman defenseman Lars Eckenrode.
In the second overtime, Oakland outshot Michigan 5-4, but Grinwis kept the shutout intact by forcing a bouncing ball wide of the goal post.
The frustrations and stressors continued for Michigan up until the final seconds, as the game clock was stopped for an Oakland corner with 14 seconds remaining in overtime.
The game remained tied, though, leaving Michigan to continue its struggles on the road. The Wolverines lost six road games last season, and won just two. In 2013, they are now 1-1-2 on the road. But according to Daley, their biggest improvements could still come in the offensive half where he said they need to score goals.
“There were five or six really quality chances, but we need to connect them on target,” Daley said. “We got to make the keeper make a save or put in the back of the net and we didn’t do either.”