After forcing the game into two overtime periods, the Rutgers men’s soccer team lost to Michigan State 2-1 on a late sudden death goal from Jack Zugay at Yurcak Field earlier today. The Scarlet Knights (7-3-2, 1-3-1) entered the game after dropping their previous match in a 2-0 defeat to Penn State.
“It was kind of back and forth — a lot of shots for both teams — you know, we were maybe just a hair not good enough in the final third,” said head men's soccer coach Jim McElderry. “I thought we had a couple of really good chances to score.”
The Spartans (5-5-2, 1-2-2) got their first dangerous opportunity in the 25th minute, when they were awarded a free kick near the 18-yard box. Michael Miller delivered a near post shot over the wall that was stopped by a diving junior goalkeeper Oren Asher.
Four minutes later, Michigan State got its opening goal. A cross from the left flank from Miller was flicked on by Will Perkins.
Rutgers came out of the halftime break having not scored, continuing its record from its previous four games of play. Once the second half started, it took just 6 minutes to end that drought and get the equalizer.
The Spartans got a few opportunities to retake the lead in the second half — the most dangerous one coming in the 79th minute. Farai Mutatu had the ball on the right side of the box, curling a powerful shot just wide of the right post.
A minute later, Acosta almost set up the go-ahead goal — off a free kick from the left side of the 18, he sent a bending cross to the far right post that was deflected out for a corner.
Michigan State nearly won the match in the final 10 seconds when Mutatu dribbled into the short right corner of the box and filtered a low cross to the back post, where substitute Louis Sala just pushed it wide.
While the Spartans created much of the opportunities in the first overtime period, neither side created a shot on goal. In the 102nd minute, Mutatu had another chance to win it, firing a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar.
Four minutes later, Michigan State finally got its winner. Gianni Ferri centered a ball for Zugay, who curled it past Asher for the sudden death goal.
The Knights have now gone four straight games without a win, with their lone point in the standings coming in their scoreless draw against Maryland two weeks ago. Rutgers returns to action on Friday, taking on Northwestern that currently sits eighth in the conference with a 1-4 Big Ten record.
For updates on the Rutgers men's soccer team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.