No. 25 Penn State Men’s Soccer Draws No. 13 Michigan State 0-0
No. 25 Penn State men’s soccer (6-1-3, 2-0-1 Big Ten) tied No. 13 Michigan State (5-1-3, 1-1-1 Big Ten) 0-0 on Sunday afternoon.
Neither the Nittany Lions nor the Spartans found the back of the net through 90 minutes due to sharp defense from both sides. Penn State recorded five shots on goal but was foiled by the Michigan State goalkeeper and rushed its attack to end goalless. Its back line was the backbone once again, barely giving the Spartans attack any chances.
How It Happened
Both teams took shots in the opening minutes but Penn State’s first scare came in the eighth minute as Michigan State’s shot was deflected for a corner kick.
The Nittany Lions remained focused on defense with Alex Stevenson stepping up for a huge block to prevent a goal in the 13th minute. The switch saw Penn State take its first shot on goal in the game with a shot from Samson Kpardeh that was grabbed by Spartans goalkeeper Zac Kelly before Peter Mangione could snatch it.
Michigan State had more substantial chances, staying calm and working its way up. Although the Nittany Lions still had possession, they struggled to convert anything and were sending long balls they kept losing in 50/50 situations.
Femi Awodesu used the slow tempo to show off his skills, easily weaving through half of the Spartans’ players before setting up an attack. Freddie Bell lofted the ball into the 18-yard box, but the kick lacked pace and was grabbed by Kelly.
Greyson Mercer wound up a shot in the 26th minute which Shakes just tipped into the post for a deflection, but the play was voided for a handball against the Spartans.
Penn State found its pace, feeding the ball upfield through Matthew Henderson. It had the ball at the corner, but Mangione was double-teamed and overtaken with 10 minutes left in the first half. Penn State continued to press but couldn’t find a breakthrough and the first half ended 0-0.
Returning from the break, the Spartans again had a more threatening attack, but the Nittany Lions fought back. In the 56th minute, they were on fire with back-to-back shots from Ben Liscum and Mangione that failed to hit the back of the net.
Mangione picked up a yellow card in the 59th followed by Liscum in the 61st as Penn State continued to get frustrated and rack up fouls through the game. Michigan State used these to its advantage and Quentin Flowers was forced to make a pivotal header clearance for Penn State.
The Nittany Lions sat in their attacking half, bringing the energy and winning the ball back time and time. The Spartans cleared the ball and it looked worrisome until Awodesu broke it up with a casual backfoot stop, and sent the ball back toward the attack.
Nothing came from the Nittany Lions or Spartans attacks, with Penn State struggling to find the footing to convert on offense and the Spartans being immediately smothered by the defense. Shakes stepped up to clear a through ball in the 83rd minute without much worry.
With three minutes to play, Penn State won a free kick right outside the 18. Mangione faked the kick and Liscum stepped up, but Kelly lunged and saved the low shot. The Nittany Lions attempted to continue their press but failed to find control and the game ended scoreless.
- Penn State seems to have a worrying trend of winning the ball back on defense and then booting it upfield in a panic just to have to go right back on defense.
- Penn State racked up 17 fouls today as it often gets physical when not in complete control of the game. The team has been picking up some worrisome fouls with Awodesu returning today after a red card suspension.
- The Nittany Lions had five shots on goal compared to the Spartans zero. Despite not being able to convert on offense, the team had a strong defensive display for another clean sheet for Shakes and his backline.
Penn State will return to Happy Valley to take on Indiana at noon on Saturday, October 7. The game will be streamed on the Big Ten Network.
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About the Author
“To any current underclassmen reading this: learn the fight song, cheer loud, and tailgate early. You’re lucky to be a Nittany Lion.”
“Do you guys like Teen Beach Movie?”
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