Written by: Billyle Alman
In their all blue kits, the Michigan Wolverines kicked off a beautiful night for soccer at 7pm here at UMSS. Umich entered the game in their usual 4-3-3, but continued their season without Francis Atuahene and Ivo Cerda. Standout Freshman, Mohammed Zakyi was also out for this matchup, leaving the #9 duties to Lucas Rosendall once again.
In the first half Cleveland State sat in deep looking to be in a 4-5-1 for the most part. Michigan were unable to break through as perhaps their best chances in the first half came from set piece or corners.
The Michigan back line of Stevens, Samake, Mukuna and Borges came ready to play once again as they were able to keep CSU scoreless entering the half. A late first half save from Andrew Verdi deserves a mention as he came up big from point blank range to keep the visiting Vikings off the score sheet.
Positives, from an offensive standpoint, were left exclusively for Jack Hallahan. He was dynamic as usual on the right wing for Michigan, but was unable to connect a final service to a willing teammate in final 3rd. Freshman, Umar Farouk Osman was seen on the ball often but was unable to get his touches clicking as his form looked too dribble dependent.
As the Wolverines dominated possession in half one, the sides entered halftime scoreless at 0-0.
Michigan entered the second half in the same formation and shape, only change being Johann Bittner in at forward replacing Rosendall.
Score changed in the 50th minute when Jack Hallahan took the game into his own hands. Jack intercepted a CSU pass and proceeded to dribble on his own crossing the half. Though he had teammates flaring down the left flank, he took one long swing and sent a shot towards the goal from more than 40 yards away resulting in an amazing chip over the Cleveland State keeper, 1-0 Maize and Blue.
5 minutes later the game opened up completely for Michigan. Daniel Mukuna used his head to send in Michigan’s second score off the service of Tristan Jacob on the right wing, 2-0 Wolverines. Mukuna wasn’t done. Just 3 minutes later Mukuna tucked away his second goal of the night off an amazing delivery on the right wing from Jack Hallahan giving Michigan the 3-0 lead.
The game settle down after that. Michigan made some late subs but their form didn’t change. They were able to maintain a majority of possession and keep CSU concerned defensively.
Cleveland found their breakthrough in the 70th minute when the Vikings knocked in a service off a free kick on the left flank, 3-1.
As sides traded chances, the flow of the game continued and clock stoppages were not needed. The final whistle was blown and the Wolverines earned their second win of the season. Michigan remains unbeaten with a record of 2-0-1.
Goals. 3 of them. Our shout out to Head Coach Chaka Daley starts now. As these teams entered halftime even, you have to look at the message and adjustments at halftime. This side looked completely different in the second half.
MSN’s Man of the Match honors go to the coming out party of Daniel Mukuna. He has been a steady defender in the backline thus far, but his threat to score was made apparent in today’s win. With Francis, Mo and Ivo out, this club found a way. A leader was born in Daniel Mukuna who opened this game up in the second half.
As Samake picked up a yellow card and was replaced by Peter Brown, the remaining 3 backline players once again put in a full 90 minutes in tonight’s victory. Though allowing one goal, this is Michigan’s most impressive win in 2017. It will be a quick turnaround for this group as they host Dartmouth Monday, but this group should be proud and optimistic heading into the weekend.