April 25, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team played the Mexico Under-20 National Team to a 0-0 draw on Friday night in front of 2,763 fans at a windy Alumni Field. The matched marked the end of the spring season for the Fighting Irish.
This was the fourth straight year that Notre Dame has faced a Mexican national team. The Irish entered tonight’s contest with a perfect 3-0 mark against Mexico. Last season, the Irish topped the U-20s, while the previous two seasons featured wins over the under-17 squad.
“This was a great spectacle,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “This was a game that really mattered because they were clearly trying to win the game. I hope they took something out of it because we certainly got something out of it.”
Neither team had a significant scoring opportunity in the first half until the final moments when Mexico’s Moises Velasco sent a shot high over the net. Mexico out shot the Fighting Irish 8-1 in the first half and 13-8 for the game. Notre Dame rising senior Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) played the first half in goal, while rising junior Philip Tuttle (Hooksett, N.H./Brewster Academy) took over in the second half.
“Both goalkeepers played well,” stated Clark. “(Andrew) Quinn didn’t get a lot of saves, but what I thought he did very well was kick the ball into a very strong wind. I thought (Philip) Tuttle stopped two or three really tough shots and on a windy night that’s not easy to do.”
More chances arose for both squads in the second stanza. The Irish nearly got on the board with just under three minutes elapsed in the second half as defender Jack Traynor (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell North) sent a free kick off the near post. Mexico’s best opportunity of the match came with 33:40 left on the clock as Velasco put a shot on goal that Tuttle punched over the crossbar to preserve the scoreless match.
A shot from forward Josh Thiermann (Stoughton, Wis./Stoughton) from in close with just over 20 minutes remaining started a late surge for the Irish. Notre Dame threatened until the very end with good looks from Dave Donohue (Reading, Mass./Cushing Academy) and Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) that sailed high.
“It was a very competitive game,” added Clark. “They are a very talented and technical team and I thought we did a really good job as a group at defending them. Most of their shots came outside the 18 (yard box). I thought we could have done better when we got the ball. We didn’t create opportunities and we didn’t connect as well as I would have liked. Having said that, I thought that in the last 20 minutes we were going to win the game. I thought we wore them down and looked like a team that was going to win the game.”
Notre Dame held a 7-5 edge in corner kicks. The match was physical as Mexico drew three yellow cards and a red card, while the Irish picked up two yellow cautions.
Mexico (U-20) 0 0 – 0
Notre Dame 0 0 – 0