Aug. 27, 2011
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East Lansing, Mich. - A penalty kick conversion by Otieno Victor in the 96th minute was the golden goal for Detroit, as the Michigan State men's soccer team fell to its in-state rival, 1-0, in the season opener for both teams.
"It's tough - one of those games where you have chances and don't finish," said head coach Damon Rensing. "I'm disappointed in our result, but not the effort that I saw from our team. I was happy with what I saw from our players, and we will regroup. There isn't time to dwell - we play a top-10 team on Thursday in Connecticut that we have to prepare for. "
The game-winner materialized on a counterattack - Victor tore up the left sideline and got it inside the box. He got around defender Kevin Cope, and Mark Barone came in with a slide tackle that he thought was centered solely on the ball. The official called the foul, and Victor lined up for the penalty shot - he sent it into the lower-left corner for the lone goal of the contest.
Overall, the Spartans had an edge in shots (22-5) and corner kicks (16-0), but drew more fouls (11-5). However, Detroit had four yellow cards and one red card in the contest.
Michigan State dominated the opening half, despite the scoreless draw at halftime. The Spartans outshot Detroit 9-2 and had eight corners. There were several quality chances for MSU in the frame, with Rubin Bega, Adam Montague, Fatai Alashe, and a pair from Brent Rosendall all coming up just short and garnering cheers from the crowd of 1,200 at DeMartin Stadium.
The half started off with a red card assessed to Detroit midfielder Kevin Pinkos, who slid into Spartan midfielder Cyrus Saydee on the left side on the Spartan attack. This left Detroit a man down for the final 44 minutes of the game. The Titans packed nine men behind the ball for a majority of the balance of the contest , forcing the Spartans to work harder to get open and clean passes in the offensive third.
Kevin Cope had his second great chance of the day in the 50th minute, but defender Adam Bedell came up with the big goal-line save to keep the game scoreless. Bega had a pair of back-to-back chances in the 62nd minute - the first, stopped on a brilliant save by keeper Anthony Shepard - that maintained the scoreless tie.
The Spartans had seemingly chance after chance, but could not connect - several of those quality chances ended up as big saves by Shepard in the second half. The final one was a diving stop to his right to thwart a Cody Henderson shot from 10 yards out with just over a minute remaining in regulation.
The overtime period started in a similar fashion for MSU, as Garrett Back's header flicked off the far goalpost in the 93rd minute, then Josh Barens' offering less than a minute later sailed high. All the chances ended up for naught, as the penalty-kick score finished the game in the 96th minute.
MSU falls to 0-1, and prepares for an east-coast trip to Connecticut and New Hampshire next weekend.