EAST LANSING, Mich. – Despite being an exhibition game, No. 7 Michigan State men’s soccer had another tough battle with No. 14 Western Michigan, tying 1-1 at DeMartin Stadium on Monday afternoon.
In the second of the second of three exhibitions, the Spartans moved to 1-0-1 with a win against Spring Arbor on August 10.
“I think it was a good game. It was kind of what we thought we’d get, and what we wanted out of it,” MSU head coach Damon Rensing said. “The young guys, I think, showed some good courage, but they also showed naivety on some things and what they can and can’t do. Western Michigan’s an organized team. They’re going to punish you on restarts and mistakes that you make and at times I thought we were a little naïve on a few things.”
In the 23rd minute, sophomore midfielder Michael Miller got the MSU offense going with a great chance saved by Elijah Michaels. Michigan State maintained possession much of the first half, but were unable to find the back of the net. In the 26th minute, the Bronco offense awoke with a blast off the cross bar by Kosti Moni.
The Broncos broke through first late in the opening half. Brenden Skinner took a pass from Giuseppe Vitale and flicked it past MSU senior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague in the 37th minute to take the 1-0 lead. Despite six first-half shots, the Spartans trailed at half time, 1-0.
MSU came out strong in the second half with two shots and three corner kicks in the first 15 minutes of the second period.
In another physical battle with the Broncos, the Spartans tied the score in the 72nd minute. Senior forward DeJuan Jones scored the equalizer off the pass from freshman forward Farai Mutatu. The blast came off Michaels’ hands and into the mouth of the goal to tie the score, 1-1.
“In the first half we created three or four chances. I mean we probably needed to score. We had really good chances that we didn’t put away. I think that’s college soccer in a nutshell,” Rensing said. “Three or four goods chances you score none, you give up a restart goal, and you’re down 1-0 at the half. But I think you have to give our guys some credit too. I thought we stayed pretty composed in the second half.”
Both teams had opportunities but neither was able to convert during regulation. The Spartans and the Broncos played one 15 minute overtime following regulation. Both teams used three goalkeepers a piece as senior Jimmy Hague, redshirt-freshman Hunter Morse and freshman Davis Hooten all saw action. Overall, 25 Spartans saw action on Monday.
MSU will conclude exhibition action on Friday, Aug. 17 against Xavier in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the Shindigz National Soccer Festival at 6 p.m.