Here at Lee Jackson Field on the Akron campus, which is a fairly intimate venue on this night. The Akron students are crowded behind IU’s goaltenders, blowing horns. It’s going to be loud.
Indiana 0, Akron 0 (Halftime)
A spirit half of top-notch collegiate soccer has concluded. While Akron had the more consistent attack — the Zips are so crafty and skilled — Indiana had a few dangerous bursts that led to two corner kicks and a number of throw-ins near the Akron net (the Hoosiers have been using freshman Matt Wiet to throw the ball into the box).
Ofori Sarkodie, as expected, is clearly playing with an extra burst today. He’s been all over the field — at both ends — and had a momentary shouting fit at one of the officials before sliding across a shot from inside the box to deflect it harmlessly away. At one point his little brother, Kofi, and he were one-on-one about 30 yards from the IU goal. You could almost feel the game transport back to a lawn in Huber Heights. Ofori stuck his leg out and IU took over possession.
It doesn’t seem like the general mood of the game is going to change at all: Akron will continue to hope it’s creativity leads to a strike, and Indiana will continue to be the more physical team and look for a quick transition or set piece score.
Akron 1, Indiana 0 (Final)
Indiana gave Akron one-too-many shots at goal, as Michael Nanchoff scored on a free kick from just outside the 18 at 77:04. IU center back Tommy Meyer, who was physical all game, was whistled for the foul. Nanchoff curved the ball around the right side of IU’s blockade and goaltender Luis Soffner, who otherwise was brilliant, didn’t even move. The shot slid right up against the far post and in.
Indiana responded with a flurry of its own but could never get on the end of a chance. That’s been the case for so long with this team.
Coach Mike Freitag told reporters after the game that he told his players to keep believing in each other. He hasn’t seen the offensive sophistication he’d like to see out of his club yet, but thinks it will come from playing tough games like this one.