April 27, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team fell to the Mexico Under-20 National Team, 1-0, on Friday night in front of 2,376 fans at Alumni Stadium. The match concluded the spring exhibition season for the Fighting Irish.
The lone goal came in the 23rd minute as Mexico’s Alfonso Gonzalez sent the ball across the goalmouth and an Irish player deflected it in for an own goal. Mexico had two shots in the opening half, while Notre Dame had one.
The Fighting Irish offense picked up steam in the second half as they outshot Mexico 12-5 in the stanza.
“We played very well tonight,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “It took us a little while to get our confidence in the first half. Mexico is very good with the ball. Once we got our confidence and started winning the ball, we found our feet. We were excellent in the second half. It was a very exciting game. At the end it was even more exciting because we were leaving players behind and they were countering. We certainly had opportunities and they were good opportunities.”
Notre Dame’s first shot on goal came in the 65th minute when Harrison Shipp had his attempt from 16 yards out saved by Mexico goalkeeper Alberto Gurrola. Two minutes later, Irish midfielder Adam Mena had his blast from the top of the 18-yard box headed away by a Mexico defender.
An Irish flurry in the 71st minute nearly resulted in a goal. The sequence began when a Ryan Finley shot from 16 yards out was blocked and Danny O’Leary collected the rebound and put a shot on frame from 20 yards away that was saved by Gurrola.
Mexico almost grabbed a two-goal cushion in the 73rd minute as Julio Gomez sent a rocket in from 20 yards out and Notre Dame goalkeeper Patrick Wall dove to his left and punched the ball away. Wall, a sophomore, played the entire second half and made three saves. Senior Will Walsh was in goal for the first half and made one save.
Gurrola had five stops for Mexico in the match, including a save off a shot from Irish defender Luke Mishu in stoppage time. Mexico’s Giovanni Hernandez hit the post with the final shot of the contest.
The Irish outshot Mexico 13-7 for the game, while the visitors had two more corner kicks (7-5).
“It was a lot of fun for the players to play in a high-level game like that,” added Clark. “It was fun to have a full house with a crowd that was really into the game. It was a great atmosphere and a great advertisement for the game of soccer and obviously we would have liked to have won.”
This was the seventh time in the last eight years that the Fighting Irish have played host to either the Mexico U-17 or U-20 national teams during the spring exhibition season. Notre Dame is 4-2-1 in those matches.
The Fighting Irish will officially conclude the 2011 season tomorrow night with their annual awards banquet.
April 27, 2012
Alumni Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.
Mexico U-20 1 0 – 1
Notre Dame 0 0 – 0
Scoring: MEX: Own Goal 22:52
Shots: MEX 2-5 – 7, ND 1-12 – 13
Corner Kicks: MEX 2-5 – 7, ND 1-4 – 5
Goalkeepers: MEX: Alberto Gurrola – 5 SV, 0 GA, 90:00, W (2 team saves)
ND: Will Walsh – 1 SV, 1 GA, 45:00, L; Patrick Wall – 3 SV, 0 GA, 45:00
Fouls: MEX 10, ND 8
Offsides: MEX 2, ND 1