The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team opened Horizon League play with a 1-1 draw against Detroit at Brown Field on Saturday afternoon. The Crusaders scored their only goal in the 59th minute, on a free kick from senior Isaiah Madrid (Albuquerque, N.M./Eldorado).
How It Happened
- Scoring opportunities were hard to come by in the first half, as the two sides combined for just six shot attempts. The visitors were able to find a goal, however, as Spiro Pliakos converted on a penalty kick in the 24th minute for a 1-0 lead.
- Valpo landed on the scoresheet approaching the midway point of the second half, as for the second time in as many home matches, Madrid knocked home a direct free kick – this one coming from 22 yards out in the 59th minute.
- The Crusaders kept up their attack at the goal with 15 shots from halftime on, while Detroit did not have a single shot attempt in the final 65 minutes. Senior in the spotlight Suleiman Thomas (Chicago, Ill./Lake Forest Academy) missed a good opportunity late in regulation, with his effort just creeping over the crossbar.
Inside the Game
- Valpo controlled the game, especially in the second half as Detroit sat back behind the ball, as the Crusaders out-shot the Titans by a 19-2 margin. Valpo also attempted four corner kicks to the Titans’ two.
- Madrid now owns team-high totals of four goals and nine points on the season.
- This is the second straight season which the Crusaders have tied Detroit in both sides’ Horizon League opener, as the two teams battled to a scoreless draw last season in Detroit.
- Junior Ramone Howell (Portmore, Jamaica) led the shot chart today for the Crusaders with eight shots, a new career high.
Thoughts From Head Coach Mike Avery
“It was a bit of a frustrating afternoon for us in some ways, but I am sure when the emotion of the game dies down we will find a little more clarity and realize that there were far more positives than negatives today.”
“We controlled large portions of the game, and battled back from the early penalty kick goal. Even though we weren't able to find the eventual winner, we created many great opportunities.”
“Detroit had a lot of players behind the ball, and they did a good job with their defending, so we really don't have much to complain about. We never want to drop points at home, but at least we split them and didn't lose all three, so now we have to have even greater focus on taking some road points out of this next group of away games.”
Valpo (1-1-2, 0-0-1 Horizon) travels to Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday, Sept. 17 to take on Horizon League foe Belmont. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m.