MSU defeats Western Michigan Broncos in overtime, 2-1
Wednesday afternoon, Michigan State (8-2 record) returned to DeMartin Stadium to outlast in-state rivalry Western Michigan (8-3-1 record), by a final score of 2-1.
Both teams were obstinate defensively and persistent in attack out of the gates, leading to a first half rife with action from either side.
At halftimes, the teams had dished out five shots apiece, with the Broncos managing three corner kicks to the Spartans' two.
The best chance of the first half fell Western Michigan's way when two shots in short succession complicating redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Jimmy Hague's job. Hague was able to survive the stint, however, a sample of the four saves that he recorded in the half. Just three minutes beforehand, he also had to make a vital stop.
MSU landed the second half's first cut and dry opening at a breakthrough, after freshman attacking midfielder Giuseppe Barone pulled off his gamely and eye-popping staple, an unseen and ambitious pass that snuck through the defense. Ryan Sierakowski was receptive, but the tight angle led the sophomore striker to drive his shot into the chest of Broncos' keeper Drew Shepherd.
The quandary of goalscoring was answered by the Broncos in the 61st minute, when midfielder and captain Edu Jimenez took a deep free kick from 45 yards. The free kick curved towards the back post, but the line of Western Michigan attackers vying for the ball distracted both Hague and the MSU defense from what the ball's course. The intended cross faintly avoided the touch of the crowd of attackers and dove into the bottom corner.
MSU appeared unlikely to retort, not registering offering a single shot until the 79th minute. The shot was a penalty kick, though, converted with a stutter by Sierakowski.
After a goalward trek from defender Connor Corrigan shifted the ball past the defense, sophomore winger DeJuan Jones latched onto the loose possession. A bumbling pair of Western Michigan defenders smashed into the back of Jones, whose fall was an unmistakeable signaling to the penalty spot.
A bellicose final few minutes saw both teams settle for the overtime, one that was quickly concluded by a Spartan attack four minutes into the added time. Jones again was the associate, picking up the direct assist and dumping off a ball to Sierakowski on the right side. From 20 yards out, Sierakowski drilled his shot past the goalie and into the back of the net, concluding the game in the sudden death format.
MSU's win was their first overtime match of the regular season. Next up, they go against Wisconsin on Sunday.