Indiana men’s soccer forward Victor Bezerra finished last season with 12 goals and was the runner-up for the MAC Hermann Trophy. However, through the Hoosiers’ first three games this season, the junior had seen less than 50 minutes of action after going down with an injury in their opener against the University of Notre Dame.
Less than two hours before Indiana kicked off against Xavier University, the star forward announced his return on his own Twitter.
His message was short, but for the Hoosier faithful it was sweet.
“I’m back,” Bezerra’s tweet read.
Head coach Todd Yeagley said his availability was game-to-game heading into the Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington. Bezerra missed the first game, a 3-0 loss to Creighton University, before returning against Xavier.
It was a quiet evening for the star forward, but he made his presence known despite not putting anything on the scoreboard for the Hoosiers. Donning a knee brace, the forward’s impact was evident within the first 10 minutes of the game as a run from Bezerra led to IU’s only goal.
Bezerra sent a pass into the box intended for Indiana junior midfielder Maouloune Goumballe. The pass was broken up by an Xavier defender and cleared out, but freshman forward Samuel Sarver was waiting just outside the box and gained possession.
Bezerra’s pass into the box pulled Xavier’s graduate student goalkeeper Matthew Rosenberg out of the goal to clear the ball, which left it open for a chip shot from Sarver. Rosenburg tried to regain position, but a perfectly placed ball from Sarver floated over his head and into the bottom right corner of the net.
Bezerra was aggressive up until the final whistle and nearly drew a penalty kick with less than two minutes to go in the game. He dribbled into the left side of the box, surrounded by two Xavier defenders, and was taken down on a tackle from behind. The referees didn’t call a foul, but Bezerra popped back up and continued playing.
Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley said it was a good performance for Bezerra considering how little he trained over the last week and half. He said Bezerra wasn’t able to get as many touches inside the box as he’d like, but still praised his intelligence and ability to bring other players into the game with his passing strategy.
“He gives the other guys confidence,” head coach Todd Yeagley said. “Obviously the other teams are very focused on him, so he is going to open up some other spaces.”
After giving up three scores to Creighton in its first loss of the season last Friday, IU was able to keep Xavier off the board entirely. While the back line produced a strong rebound performance in the win, sophomore defender Joey Maher also mentioned Bezerra’s presence on the pitch and what he means to the team.
“He’s absolutely unbelievable,” Maher said. “It’s a privilege to play with him and it’s just great having him on the field.”
Bezerra played 60 minutes in his return game for the Hoosiers, and he will have ample time to rest his knee ahead of Indiana’s next matchup with the University of Akron at 7 p.m. Friday in Akron, Ohio. It will be IU’s first game on the road since Bezerra was injured against Notre Dame.