Aug. 13, 2017
by Tony Jones
OMAHA, Neb. – A measured offensive start by the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team became a distant memory on Sunday night in the opening exhibition match of 2017. Senior tri-captain and MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List selection Jon Gallagher finished the evening with two goals, on great assists from classmates Jeff Farina and Blake Townes, to power the No. 10 Irish past host Omaha 2-0 at Caniglia Field.
The Irish applied pressure early, attempting a total of four corner kicks in the game’s opening 17 minutes. Omaha’s defensive third was able to clear the zone before Notre Dame could connect cleanly on any of the attempts.
A feed from Jack Casey, after driving up the left flank, found Townes with space at the top of the Omaha 18-yard box in the 25th minute. Townes caught the pass with a solid right foot that just sailed over the top of the crossbar.
A tempting free kick for Gallagher from just over 20 yards out set Notre Dame up in the 34th minute. The right-footed strike from the spot by Gallagher carried just wide of the Omaha frame.
Notre Dame found the scoreboard first in the 35th minute. Irish goalkeeper Chris Hubbard sent a long free kick up the right channel that was flicked on by the head of Farina. Gallagher gathered the pass and chipped a perfect shot over the reach of Omaha goalkeeper Ugo Tritz and into the Mavericks net at 34:27 for the 1-0 Irish lead.
Thomas Ueland nearly found a second Notre Dame goal after taking possession near the right post deep in the Omaha zone in the 38th minute. A lunging save to the left by Tritz stonewalled the Irish attack.
Gallagher put the game away for the Irish off his right foot in the 61st minute. Townes lofted a through ball down the middle of the pitch to a streaking Gallagher, who took his time and buried a shot inside the right post from the Omaha box for his second goal of the night at 60:41 and the 2-0 Notre Dame advantage.
Ryan Krutz stood tall in the Notre Dame goal after entering to start the second half, turning aside a pair of Omaha shot attempts to preserve the shutout. The final Maverick try on goal was stopped by Krutz in the 79th minute.
Gallagher made a play for the hat trick in the 87th minute, weaving to the top of the Omaha 18 and blasting a left-footed shot toward the left post. A sprawling Tritz made an impressive save to keep the final score line as was.
Notre Dame concludes its brief preseason road trip with an 8 p.m. (ET) kickoff on Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa, against Drake.
Play of the Game
Irish goalkeeper Chris Hubbard found Jeff Farina in space with a pinpoint free kick to start the opening Notre Dame scoring surge in the first half. Jon Gallagher gathered the pass from Farina and curled a chip into the Mavericks net for the 1-0 Irish lead in the 35th minute.
Despite not attempting an official shot for the first 17 plus minutes of the contest, Notre Dame ultimately outshot Omaha by a 12-4 count for the remainder of the night. The Irish also held a 5-2 edge in shots on goal.
Note of the Game
Notre Dame earned its first multi-goal decision in a fall exhibition contest since a 5-1 triumph over Wisconsin on Aug. 25, 2014, at Alumni Stadium.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.