Written by: Michael Kroodsma
Michigan was hoping to pick up where they left off following a 3-1 victory over Northwestern this past weekend. Unfortunately, their momentum came to a grinding halt as Oakland struck twice in the second half to steal a 2-1 road win.
Michigan dominated for the majority of the first half. In the 7th minute, after earning a free kick, Marc Ybarra gave the hosts the lead. His free kick bounced in the dangerous area but touched no one and sailed past the keeper to make it 1-0.
Michigan’s dominance continued - Mohammed Zakyi came closest to adding another goal in the 21st minute. Jack Hallahan curled in a beautiful cross and Mo slammed his header toward goal. Oakland keeper Sullivan Lauderdale made a heroic stop to keep the effort out.
Lauderdale kept the Golden Grizzlies within touching distance, making several terrific saves throughout. Michigan dictated the tempo for the rest of the half, but couldn’t beat Lauderdale again, and the sides went into the break with U of M leading 1-0.
The second half started as bad as it could have for Michigan. Just 4 minutes in, Oakland’s Austin Ricci headed past Verdi to level the score, 1-1. Michigan seemed shocked.
Less than 20 minutes later Oakland again took advantage on the counter attack, this time through Jacob Moore. He controlled the long ball well and slotted it past Verdi to give the visitors the lead.
Despite Michigan having several good opportunities to get back in the match, Lauderdale continued to prove too much for the Wolverines front line. With time running out, Zakyi saw a headed effort saved yet again. Lauderdale and the Golden Grizzlies held on to secure a 2-1 victory.
A tale of two halves – was there ever a better footballing cliché? Still – Michigan came out flat in the second half and it cost them. Unable to deal with two relatively manageable long balls over the top, the Wolverines conceded from both, and lost the match because of this.
Possession was still in favor of U of M in the second half, but the sharpness disappeared. The passing was less crisp, the offense seemed to be disconnected and with no one to aim at, there was too much possession without purpose.
Michigan’s full capabilities were on display in the first half, and their inexperience shined through in the second. With a difficult Big Ten road match at Penn State Sunday, we’re hoping the Wolverines learn (quickly) from this one and move on.