May 29, 2010
The Notre Dame men’s soccer team currently is on a two-week trip to Sweden and Denmark. Head coach Bobby Clark and certain members of the squad will be checking in with match reports and blogs from their adventures.
Read Bobby Clark’s latest two match reports …
Match # 4
Halmstads BK (19s) 0 – Notre Dame 1
This was our first game against Swedish opposition and it came in the form of Hamlstads 19s. We started and played all our own younger and less experienced players and all measured up to the required standard. There was no question that Notre Dame handled this game very well and, although there was only one goal to show for our efforts, Notre Dame clearly controlled this match.
The all important goal came midway through the second half when sophomore, Michael Knapp, made a great overlapping run from his central defender position. Freshman, Kyle Richard, picked up his run and played and inch perfect pass. Knapp, in turn, took this pass and hit a great cross towards the goal. Andrew Luttrell challenged for the header and, as the ball fell into the six yard box, freshman, Bob Novak, squeezed it over the line from close range. All six freshmen played the entire game with the exception of Dillon Powers, who only played the first period. This was great for Dillon coming back from injury and he was happy to manage a full half which was 35 more minutes from his previous outing against Naestved.
The real highlight was seeing the current home of ND alumni, Ryan Miller and Michael Thomas. They arranged a nice meal at a local restaurant and it was just great to share time with both lads. There is no question they are staying in a beautiful little Swedish town. Very clean and picturesque.
That now makes it four games down with two more to go. Our next match is Friday in Gothenburg and will possibly be one of the toughest as we play against the powerful GAIS team from the Swedish top league. All our sources, depending on the team they put on the field, suggest that this could be our test for our squad.
Match # 5
GAIS 2 – Notre Dame 0
This was our fifth game of the tour and it took us 300 kilometers north to the City of Gothenburg. It is a beautiful city and we wished we could have spent a little longer to look around. The game was played in the suburbs, in the GAIS training ground and like all the other training grounds visited we have been very impressed with the beautiful complexes. This one was nestled on the side of a forest covered hill……very picturesque.
Although our team lost the game against GAIS today, this was possibly our best performance of the tour so far. GAIS, a top Swedish League team, put out their top team, and for most of the game the Notre Dame students matched their professional opponents in all parts of the game. Had it not been for two goals by Francisco Wanderson do Carmo Carneiro, one of GAIS’s two Brazilian imports, things might have been different. Wanderson was the Swedish Player of the Year in 2009 and clearly showed why when he schooled the Irish defense to put home the first goal with three minutes left in the first half. It was a classic Brazilian goal when he beat his defender, around the half-line, sprinted with speed, turned another defender before hammering a blockbuster shot off the underside of the crossbar before it crossed the goal line.
His second goal was less spectacular and came with 15 minutes remaining when he converted a rather needless penalty kick. In typical Brazilian fashion he gave a little hesitation which fake Phil Tuttle into a dive and he then coolly chipped the ball into the other corner.
This has truly been a wonderful trip for our players. Never in previous trips have we played against such strong opposition and our players have relished the challenge. Tomorrow we return to Denmark where we will play against Akademisk BK from the Danish 1st Division, which is the league below the Super League. We will possibly play our younger players who did not see time in today’s game. We have had to use our squad well as this will be our sixth match in nine days….a very challenging, but enjoyable, schedule!