Although the final score may not indicate it, Indiana was in control during most of Thursday’s season-opener against the University of Notre Dame. With 17 total shots, five shots on goal, and controlling possession for the majority of the game, the Hoosiers lacked accuracy to leave South Bend with a win, drawing 1-1.
Indiana possessed the ball from the opening kickoff, but Notre Dame scored first. Senior defender Paddy Burns headed the ball into the goal to give the Fighting Irish a 1-0 lead after captain senior goalkeeper JT Harms exited his line awkwardly.
The Hoosiers didn’t let the goal negatively impact them, tying the game just three minutes later. After a great pass by junior forward Samuel Sarver surrounded by 3 defenders, freshman forward Collins Oduro slipped through the two Fighting Irish defenders and scored from inside the 18-yard box.
Indiana started in a 4-4-2 formation with Sarver and Oduro in front, but as the game went on, coach Todd Yeagley switched to a 4-3-3 formation with Oduro on the left, Sarver on the right and senior forward Karsen Henderlong at No. 9.
In both formations, Indiana was pressing Notre Dame in their defending third of the field but, most importantly, Oduro was creating dangerous chances.
The Fighting Irish were having trouble stopping Oduro’s advances, especially on the left wing, and often had to stop the play with a foul. Notre Dame’s junior right back Kyle Genenbacher received a yellow card for preventing a counter led by Oduro.
Oduro showed speed and ball-handling skills, proving he can be lethal for Indiana. However, he became flustered when he had the ball at his foot close to the 18-yard box, often taking contested shots and failing to see open teammates.
Oduro wasn’t the only Hoosier who had a debut. Senior defender Hugo Bacharach — a transfer from Fairleigh Dickinson University — was a solid safety net for Indiana as he was calm with the ball on his feet and won most of his one-on-one matchups.
Oftentimes Bacharach booted the ball away from the goal because he couldn’t find his teammates. Tonight, he showed good vision and calmness when he was able to find vertical passes to his teammates.
Freshman forward Alex Barger also made his debut for the cream and crimson against the Fighting Irish, playing a safe game at left back and showing speed and awareness. Throughout the game, Barger missed some passes and turned the ball over a couple of times, showing some edginess when he had the ball, but that could be attributed to playing off position and making his debut.
Indiana had a couple of chances with Oduro and Henderlong playing one-touch in the second half but was unable to break the tie.
As the season progresses, the newcomers will have the chance to become more familiar with teammates’ tendencies and play more relaxed.
Indiana returns to the pitch at Bill Armstrong Stadium for its home opener against DePaul University at 8 p.m. on Aug. 29.