A steady rain was the theme for the evening, but it was not on Michigan’s parade. Michigan trumped Detroit 4-0 in their second-to-last non-conference match of the season.
Michigan dominated the opening possession battle, but they were hard pressed to find a clear chance. Jack Hallahan’s deflected shot in the 11th needed a save to tip it over the bar, but no early breakthrough could be found. Detroit looked directly generally playing a 4-4-2 with revolving strikers and center mids while Michigan found their possession generally sustained whatever area of the pitch they wished.
It was only a matter of time before Michigan would find the back of the net, and like the Oakland game, it came through a late penalty. Marcello Borges delivered a crisp cross into the box that hit the arm of a Detroit defender. It was taken calmly by Marc Ybarra, who drilled it to the keeper’s right just under the bar. The best was yet to come.
Goal number two again started with a Borges cross. While it did not find anyone in maize initially, the deflection meant Sosa Emovon (who came on for Noah Kleedtke with ten minutes left in the half) had a seemingly attempted shot fall right to Umar Farouk Osman. It took a simple finish and Osman found the net for the seventh time this season.
There were not too many happenings for the Wolverines or Titans getting forward in the second half, but the half was marked by some Hallahan brilliance. First, Hallahan beat a couple of Detroit defenders through the heart of the pitch and found Kleedtke alone for a one-on-one with the keeper, which the senior converted well. Then a corner from Hallahan met Jackson Ragen’s head and well and truly clinched the game for the Wolverines. Finally, Hallahan got a goal himself. Carlos Tellez, the sophomore midfielder, did outstandingly to bring the ball down at the top of a box and send Hallahan through. From there, it just took a finish from Hallahan. The fifth was the final one and Michigan put on a soccer clinic for the Wolverine faithful.
Michigan looked great even in the relentless rain. Marcello Borges really shined on this evening, both goals coming from actions resulting from crosses of his. Borges does so well to position himself in a way to dissuade opposing teams from attacking on the left side of Michigan’s defense while also playing forward well. His first game with bleached hair was a resounding success for the left back.
Another player who did all the little things right was Marc Ybarra. His positioning as the final man in midfield is key to this Michigan side. It seemed as if he did not misplace a single pass tonight and won some brilliant tackles that seemed to go unnoticed. His contributions help make this team run smoothly and the trust he has by coach Chaka Daley is clear as penalty taker for this side.
Against a Detroit side that likes to play direct, in weather that favors sides that prefer this route, it was up to the Michigan defense to stand tall. They certainly did so, with special credit going to both center backs Daniel Mukuna and Jackson Ragen for dealing with the various central threats Detroit sent at them. With no shots on target for the Titans, it’s a credit to the Michigan defense for yet another dominant display.
The two central strikers in today’s match, Noah Kleedtke and Sosa Emovon, each went on the stat sheet while putting in strong shifts for the Wolverines. Kleedtke’s goal is the second of career and required a fantastic run from him to get in proper position. Emovon, on the other hand, clearly has the technical skill and an assist will surely be a nice confidence boost for him. Of course, when talking about attackers, Jack Hallahan’s second half must also be talked about. Two assists, a goal, and at least two more very near chances marked a stellar night for a player who is quickly making a case for at least First Team All-Big Ten honors once again this season.
Michigan’s final non-conference match of the regular season is on deck, and it’s a big one. Notre Dame visits UMSS and there is the strong likelihood of another ranked match-up. The match is on Tuesday November 16th at 6 PM.