Men's Soccer Falls to No. 1 Akron on Late Penalty Kick
Nov. 4, 2009
AKRON, Ohio - The Michigan State men's soccer team played the No. 1 Akron Zips even through nearly 75 minutes on Wednesday (Nov. 4) evening. However, with the score tied at one with 15 minutes left in the second half, a Spartan foul inside the penalty area gave the Zips a penalty-kick goal and a 2-1 win. MSU is now 10-5-2 on the year, while Akron remains undefeated at 17-0.
"The guys played great tonight," said MSU coach Damon Rensing. "It was a great college soccer game and it's unfortunate that the winning goal came on a penalty kick. We stuck to our game plan and Akron is very good, well organized team. All-in-all, we played the top team in the country very well."
The Zips didn't take long to get going, as less than four minutes in, Akron's Teal Burnbury scored on a chip shot from 20 yards out for a 1-0 lead.
As the two teams settled in, the each traded scoring chances. Akron held a slight, 5-4, shot advantage after the goal until the 39th minute when Spencer Thompson set up Tim Granaderos to tie the game for MSU. Thompson's cross from the left side found Granaderos who buried the ball in the back of the net from eight yards out and gave the Spartans a big lift heading into halftime.
The two teams played evenly through the first 30 minutes of the second half, until the turning point in the 75th minute when a yellow card was issued to the Spartans' Nosa Iyoha for a foul inside the penalty area - leading to a Zips' penalty kick. Akron's Blair Gavin converted the PK, giving the Zips the lead for good.
"We created a few more chances in the first half," Rensing said. "I thought our backs were very good, the midfield played great and Jeff Ricondo and Rubin Bega were very good up top. We just missed on a couple finishing passes."
Sophomore Jeremy Clark started in place of Avery Steinlage and stopped six shots in his first action since Sept. 13 against Wright State.
"Jeremy played great tonight," Rensing said. "There was nothing he could do on either goal. I'm happy for him because he's worked hard all year and been patient."
The Spartans will play their final regular-season game of the year on Saturday when they travel to No. 17 Northwestern to take on the Wildcats at 6 p.m. ET.
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