FINAL: MEXICO UNDER-20 NATIONAL TEAM 2, INDIANA 1. Excellent exhibition match today at Bill Armstrong Stadium, with the host Hoosiers hanging right with a group that won the Under 17 World Cup. IU could have had a couple of goals after posting a 1-0 halftime lead (particularly on a couple of great chances for Eriq Zavaleta), but instead gave up two second-half goals to the Mexicans, both of which were well-earned. IU was active and physical and, even playing a bit short-handed, competitive.
MEXICO GOAL: Mexico 2, Indiana 1, 81:09. Alfonzo Gonzalez just gave the visitors their first lead on a great right-footed volley from atop the 18, beating Soffner to the lower-right.
MEXICO GOAL: Indiana 1, Mexico 1, 66:27. Guillermo Madrigal, who had posed an overt threat more than once today, got Mexico on the board. He took a feed in the box by Uvaldo Luna, made an excellent first touch to create space and blasted a point-blank right-footer than left IU keeper Luis Soffner no chance.
HALFTIME NOTES: INDIANA 1, MEXICO 0
Mexico had much of the possession, and out-shot the Hoosiers 10-8, but IU had the better chances in the first half. In addition to Joe Tolen’s goal off a superb steal and assist from Eriq Zavaleta, Hoosier sophomore Harrison Petts had a couple of near-goals. Petts tried a nifty bicycle kick at the 32:02 mark from the top of the box that was nicely saved by keeper Manuel Lajud. Then, at 34:43, a great through ball found Petts onside and racing toward goal on the right side of the penalty area Lajud came off his line to make the angle tough, and Petts’ diagonal attempt stayed tantalizingly just outside to far post.
The Hoosiers are Nikita Kotlov, a likely preseason All-American heading into next fall, who currently is nursing a fractured fifth metatarsal. And key defender Jacob Bushue left the first half late after apparently aggravating a hamstring issue.
But the IU defense has held its shape and generally held up well against Mexico’s attack. Not that the Mexicans didn’t generate some threats. Just 10:14 into the match, Mauricio Hernandez sent a rocket shot over the bat, and a low shot from Kevin Escamilla was well-saved by Hoosier keeper Luis Soffner at 15:57. Guillermo Madrigal also sent at header over the bat at 29:39.
INDIANA GOAL: 20:00: Indiana 1, Mexico 0: Big Ten Freshman of Eriq Zavaleta made a great steal just at the offensive third, drew the defense to the left, then brilliantly fed across the top of the 18 to Joe Tolen, who showed composure and touch in patiently beating keeper Manual Lajud to the lower right.
PREGAME — Plenty of green shirts in the crowd today at Armstrong Stadium as Mexico’s Under-20 National Soccer Team plays a visit for an exhibition match against Indiana’s host Hoosiers. It’s the fifth such exhibition over the years, with Mexico holding a 3-2 lead in the series, and will again field a formidable side. Mexico has won two Under-17 World Cups and today’s team is full of players who won the most recent such title. We’ll provide updates here and via Twitter.