Spartans rally with two second-half goals.
DALLAS, Texas – The Michigan State men’s soccer team upset No. 12 SMU, 2-1 on the road on Friday night in the season-opener for both teams. Ryan Sierakowski scored the go-ahead goal in the 74th minute on a rebound following a corner kick to give the Spartans the come-from-behind win.
“I am proud of our guys. We always have to grind out wins,” said head coach Damon Rensing. “Two well-deserved goals. We defended as a group. Possession was very good. All-in-all just a great result.”
SMU (0-1) drew a penalty kick 90 seconds into the game by drawing a foul in the box off a long throw in. Mauro Cichero converted on the opportunity to give the Mustangs the early 1-0 lead.
The Spartans (1-0) held a majority of the possession for the remainder of the half and generated several set pieces, owning a 6-1 advantage in corners and 6-2 shots, but couldn’t convert and trailed at the break.
In the 61st minute, the Spartans converted on their eight corner of the night to tie the game at 1-1. The ball was sent in by Ken Krolicki and it appeared SMU goalkeeper M. Nelson controlled the cross, but Giuseppe Barone was credited with the goal after the ball came loose in front and into the net.
The Spartans continued applying pressure and getting several scoring chances, until the 74th minute when Ken Krolicki picked up his second assist of the night after his shot rebounded in front to Sierakowski who beat the keeper low to the far post for the visitors’ second goal of the night.
Michigan State finished with 12 shots in the match, five on goal, while SMU had 10 shots, five on goal. MSU also had a 12-5 advantage in corner kicks.
Jimmy Hague made four saves in the game, including three in the second half as SMU peppered him with shots as the final minutes were winding down. Hague also got the help of the woodwork as an SM shot bounced off the crossbar just prior to MSU’s second goal.
The physical match saw a total of 36 fouls (25 on SMU, 15 on MSU), with three yellow cards assessed (two on SMU, one on MSU).
Michigan State was also boosted by a large contingency of Spartan fans, including a large group of the DFW Chapter of the Michigan State University Alumni Association, leading the Spartan fans in “Go Green, Go White” cheers and waving Spartan flags throughout the match.
The Spartans remain in Dallas, Texas for the weekend and return to action on Sunday against Oral Roberts at 1 p.m. ET.