The Michigan State men's soccer team (1-0-1) will play their third home game of the season on Friday evening as they are set to take on Canisius (1-1). Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. at DeMartin Soccer Stadium.
Michigan State picked up its first win of the 2018 season against South Florida last Friday, as the Spartans downed the Bulls 1-0. Though just two games have been played, MSU heads into the matchup ranked No. 5 in the nation on the United Soccer Coaches poll, according to NCAA.com. Canisius took home a win in their first game against Robert Morris with a 3-0 shutout last Friday. Two days later, they were downed by Northern Kentucky by a score of 3-2.
This will be the first matchup for the two teams since 1997, when the Spartans downed Canisius by a score of 6-2. The two teams faced off the prior season, and Michigan State came away with a 4-0 shutout victory.
Players to watch
Freshman forward Farai Mutatu has the Spartans' only goal of the season. He is getting plenty of playing time early on, having received 120 minutes over his first two games and getting the start in the teams' double-overtime tie against Tulsa on Sunday.
Senior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague has recorded back-to-back shutouts to start the season for the Spartans. However, the 2017 Big Ten Goaltender of the Year will have his work cut out for him as Canisius has put up five goals over their first two games.
Junior forward Troy Brady kicked off his season for Canisius with a two-goal performance off the bench against Robert Morris. His presence on the field should be enough to challenge Hague’s shutout streak.
The fact that the game is being played in East Lansing bodes quite well for the Spartans, as they have defended their home turf quite well in recent years, posting a .826 winning percentage at DeMartin Stadium since the start of the 2016 season.
However, Michigan State has gotten off to a slow start offensively, scoring just one goal against South Florida in its season opener and being shutout in its most recent matchup against Tulsa. If the Spartans want to match their 2017 success, the offense will need to step it up.
Though Canisius has been quite productive offensively to start the season, Hague has been on fire to start the season. Getting one past the Spartan goalkeeper will likely prove to be quite a challenge for Canisius. If the Spartan offense shows up on Friday afternoon, Michigan State shouldn’t have too much trouble walking away with a win on Friday afternoon.
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