Thursday, December 2, 2021

Know Thy Enemy: In-state rivals U-M, MSU to battle it out in Ann Arbor

October 5, 2021
<p>Sophomore Midfielder Zack Zugay and Redshirt Junior Defender Will Perkins in a brief scuffle with a Pennsylvania State soccer player.</p>

Sophomore Midfielder Zack Zugay and Redshirt Junior Defender Will Perkins in a brief scuffle with a Pennsylvania State soccer player.

Photo by Tyler Smith | The State News

Know Thy Enemy is a Q&A where the perspective changes from the eyes of The State News to the eyes of the student newspaper of Michigan State's opponent. This weekend, The State News' men's soccer reporter Sara Tidwell spoke with Mark Patrick of The Michigan Daily ahead of Tuesday's Michigan and MSU game.

After a heartbreaking last-minute goal by Penn State over homecoming weekend shot Michigan State men's soccer in the foot, they are starting yet another three-game road tour, kicking off in Ann Arbor against the University of Michigan at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Spartans enter the biggest Big Ten matchup of the season at 4-5-1 overall, 0-2-1 in-conference.

This week, The State News' soccer reporter Sara Tidwell spoke with Mark Patrick of The Michigan Daily ahead of the Spartans' matchup with the Wolverines.

Q: Who are Michigan’s team leaders and how much are they relied on in play-action? Who else is emerging into the spotlight that could cause problems for the Spartans?

A: U-M junior forward Evan Rasmussen has been on a hot streak as of late. Over the last three games, he's collected four total points (two goals, two assists). Even when he doesn’t score, his impact on the field is still noted in the offensive line.

U-M senior midfielder Kevin Buca also leads the team in goals with four.

Q: With an overall record of 5-4-1, holding one more win than MSU, what are Michigan’s strong suits? Weaknesses? How were they looking prior to conference play?

A: U-M's strength lie‬s in their defensive line, while their weakness falls back in the first part of this season's schedule. They have been outshot by nearly double in the first 45-minutes of several different games. I think they are a good second-half team though, as they're often forced into catching up and surpassing their opponent.

Q: Do you think there will be a good turnout because it’s a pretty big rivalry, or no because the game is on a random Tuesday at 8 p.m.?

A: I expect a pretty solid turnout. I don’t think their student section is going to have 100% attendance, just because it is a Tuesday night. The weather is also (said to be) more severe, (in the high 50-degrees and cloudy).

Q: What is your score prediction and why?

A: I think Michigan will win by a score of 2-1, as they are currently on a two-game winning streak (after topping) Northwestern 3-1 and Indiana 2-1 in overtime.

U-M freshman goalkeeper Hayden Evans has been playing solid in the net and may end up getting the starting job, though they rotate their keepers every match.

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