IU capped off its spring season against the Mexico U-20 National Team in an aggressive and high-paced match.
There weren't too many chances for either side to score Sunday afternoon because both teams had just two shots each that were on target. The game ended in a 0-0 draw, and the teams shared the spoils of the match.
Defense was a major emphasis for IU Coach Todd Yeagley against Mexico. Yeagley started junior defender Jordan Kleyn at center back, a position in which he usually doesn't play. Kleyn typically plays at right back, but he had to move over to the middle of the defense against Mexico.
Sophomore defender A.J. Palazzolo was sidelined with a concussion and provided Kleyn with the opportunity to slot into the back line next to junior defender Timmy Mehl.
"There were a few moments where I could've done a little better, but not having some of the game experience back there made me a little nervous coming into the game," Kleyn said. "I have great teammates around me, so I was pretty confident that I would go in there and get the job done."
Kleyn and Mehl had the duty of stopping the Mexican attack, which managed to score against Notre Dame just two days prior. The Hoosiers were coming off of a loss to the Fighting Irish by a score of 3-0 on April 22.
The Hoosiers tallied nine shots total Sunday but couldn't place any of them past Mexico goalkeeper Carlos Avilez. Even though IU couldn't convert on any of its chances, Yeagley said he was impressed with how his team adjusted as the game progressed.
"In the first half we weren't great in our first few passes in transition from defense to offense," Yeagley said. "Otherwise, I thought we could've had quite a few more chances. As we grew into the game, we created some great chances. We defended well, and I thought we tactically adjusted the field well and made some adjustments."
The chances the Hoosiers had were created by a committee of players led by sophomore and senior attackers Griffin Dorsey and Austin Panchot. Both players had the only two shots on target in a game that didn't have too many threatening moments.
Mexico used the sidelines with its wingers throughout the first half. It created some problems for senior defender Rece Buckmaster, who had to monitor Adrian Lozano. Yet both Buckmaster and Kleyn managed to limit the amount of space Mexico had on the wings, and it forced Mexico to play through its midfield in the second half.
"They are very technical and gifted, obviously, but I thought we did a good job locking them down for the most part and limiting their shots to around 18 yards out," Kleyn said. "I didn't feel threatened by any of their shots."
After seven matches under its belt, IU finished its spring season against an international side. Kleyn said after the game he was impressed with the way the team played against a quality opponent.
"I'd say this was our best performance," Kleyn said. "Yeah, we didn't have a lot of the ball, but we definitely created some really good chances. It was just a fun and competitive match, and I thought we played really well. It is a good way to end the season."
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