Indiana men’s soccer got its first test of the season when it played a hard-fought match against the University of Notre Dame Aug. 24 The Hoosiers had to settle for a draw but created many chances throughout the game that could have given them an important win on the road to pick up points early in the season.
The Hoosiers will get another chance to get their first win in their home opener against DePaul University on Tuesday. This match will be the start of a three-game homestand in which Indiana hopes to continue its success when playing at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Indiana had a 9-1-3 record when playing at home last season.
Here are some things to look out for when the Hoosiers and Blue Demons kick off at 8 p.m. Tuesday:
Blue Demons report
This will be the first time that Indiana will face off against DePaul in regular season play, having only previously faced them in exhibition matches. Head coach Mark Plotkin has been leading the Blue Demons for six years, in which he has a 24-36-18 record. The Blue Demons finished with a 4-6-7 record last season.
DePaul will be without its 2022 top goal-scorer and points leader Jake Fuderer who recorded four goals and nine points last season. Junior midfielder Cade Hagan will return for the Blue Demons and was second in points last season for the team recording six points with two goals and two assists. Graduate midfielder Michael Anderson and senior Marek Gonda are also returning for DePaul, who both contributed with four points last season.
The Blue Demons are 1-0-0 this season, after their 1-0 win against Lindenwood University on Aug. 24. Junior midfielder Callum Watts scored the winning goal for the Blue Demons in the match.
Freshman forward Collins Oduro started the game as a second striker playing slightly behind senior forward Maouloune Goumballe at the top of a 4-4-2 formation against Notre Dame. Oduro was a threat from the first minute, using his speed and technique to create some dangerous opportunities for the Hoosiers. He scored Indiana’s only goal while playing in this position, and often looked as if he was destined to score more throughout the game. Striker wasn’t the only position that Oduro played throughout the game though, as he moved around the field playing on both the left and right wing in different periods of the match.
Head coach Todd Yeagley said that this might become a common occurrence throughout the season, saying Oduro’s ability to take players on wide is a reason he feels comfortable playing him there.
“I think you’ll see that from game to game, no doubt we’ll move him around,” Yeagley said. “It’ll depend on the forms of our other players, and the matchups that we like. He can be equally or more effective wide. He’s very capable playing in any of those spots, and that’s a very nice thing for us”.
Improvement in defending set pieces
The lone goal that Indiana conceded against Notre Dame in the Aug. 24 1-1 draw came from a set piece. The danger didn’t stop there though, as most of the goalscoring chances that Notre Dame had came from set pieces, with even some long throw-ins into Indiana’s box causing shaky sequences.
The Hoosiers defended early set pieces well, with senior defender Hugo Bacharach showing his aerial abilities early on. As the game went on though, Notre Dame started to win most of the aerial duels both in set pieces and in open play. Notre Dame’s aerial dominance led to a chance at the end of the game when they nearly scored off a corner after a loose ball caused a scramble in Indiana’s box.
Improving defensively on set pieces will be crucial for the Hoosiers season, and they’ll get the chance to improve in this facet of the game in their matchup against DePaul on Tuesday night.
The game will kick off at 8 p.m. at Bill Armstrong Stadium and will be streamed live on Big Ten Plus.