ROCHESTER - In a 1-0 loss to Oakland University Wednesday, the MSU mens soccer team got a taste of international play without setting foot on Australian soil.
Instead the Spartans (5-5) made their way across the state to Rochester to take on the Golden Grizzlies (6-3-1) - a team containing six European players.
MSU head coach Joe Baum said Oakland recruits rather than settling for second rate in-state players. Baum added that Oakland is successful in luring foreign players. Their assistant coach Steve Seargeant, who is English, played professional soccer for 12 years and has contacts in Europe.
(Oakland) kind of has the feeling that they cant get the best Michigan players to go to Oakland because they think the better Michigan players are going to go to Michigan, Michigan State or out of state, Baum said.
MSU had some trouble adjusting to Oaklands European style in the beginning of the game, getting outshot 5-3 in the first half, while the Grizzlies posted five corner kicks to one MSU corner kick.
Early in the game we looked tight, Baum said. Their quickness and their skill kind of threw us (off) maybe for the first 15 or 20 minutes, but after the first 15 or 20 minutes I didnt see any international stars out there that shook us up.
MSU continued to have problems in the first half when freshman forward Thomas Trivelloni and freshman midfielder John Minagawa-Webster had to come out of the game because of injuries.
I think we kind of ran out of bodies here today, but that happens, Baum said. Thats why you have reserves.
Senior forward Mike Trivelloni said that its the job of the bench players to step up when players get injured.
People like myself and (senior midfielder) Brian Spitzkeit and everybody else, we have to come out here and do the job and unfortunately today we didnt finish our chances, Trivelloni said. Were playing hurt but you cant dwell on injuries.
The Spartans adjusted in the second half to Oaklands fast paced style, but were still unable to make big plays.
I thought that in the second half, one team was going to make one big play that would win the game, Baum said. They made the play and we didnt, all it came down to was one play.
The Spartans will look to rise above the .500 mark Sunday against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio at 2:30 p.m.