The men’s soccer team defeated SMU in their first game of the 2014 season on a mostly-sunny day in DeMartin Soccer Stadium, 1-0.
The first half saw both teams struggle to generate much on offense with the only close opportunity coming from MSU’s senior midfielder Fatai Alashe on a nearly missed header at the 2:34 mark.
The team’s looked relatively even statistically, with MSU totaling four shots compared to SMU’s five. The first half also saw both teams starting goalies make two saves apiece.
MSU outshot SMU 15-to-8 overall and 3-to-11 in the second half.
Both teams saw a player get a yellow-card in the first half, one coming to SMU’s Marco Carrizales at the 28:15 mark and the other going to MSU’s Fatai Alashe at the 42:35 mark.
“There just wasn’t a lot of rhythm to the game, both teams had trouble breaking the defensive pressure of the other team,” Head Coach Damon Rensing said after the game.
“We had a little first game jitters we need to be a little better on the ball make quicker decisions. SMU’s a good team they are a very talented team and they were good defensively and organized I think we’ll be fine we just have to keep moving forward.”
The second half began the same way, with both teams struggling to get much going on offense.
The first real opportunities of the second came for MSU at the 55:41 mark with a near miss by Alashe followed by a rebound and a nearly missed header by senior forward Adam Montague at the 55:59 mark.
It was not until the 77:50 mark that MSU finally broke the tie with a goal coming from redshirt-senior defender Ryan Keener off of an assist by junior midfielder Jason Stacy.
“It’s exciting, it’s exciting for the guys, I think we played well throughout the game we had some great chances so finally putting one away really just payed off for us with all the good things we were doing,” Keener said.
Led by the late goal from Keener, MSU was able to hold on to the 1-0 lead and get a win in their first game of the season. The team will play again on Aug. 31 against FIU.
“It wasn’t the prettiest soccer game, but you know what you gotta find ways to win and credit to our guys to get a deserved win,” Rensing said. “FIU is coming off a good win against a good Michigan team and they’re going to want try to win, both teams won so we’re going to both want to get greedy and get two wins.”
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