Indiana men’s soccer tied Wisconsin on Friday night in another game where it had control of the match but was never able to capitalize on any scoring chances.
Indiana’s first Big Ten matchup of the season looked promising when junior midfielder Patrick McDonald fired the Hoosiers’ first shot on goal just three minutes into the first half, forcing junior goalkeeper Nate Crockford to dive for a save.
Besides the first minutes, Indiana had the ball but did not create much in the final third of the field.
With nine minutes to go in the first, sophomore forward Luka Bezerra had his shot deflected outside the box, missing just wide to the right.
It was an uneventful first half for both sides. The Badgers had one shot attempt, which went high over the bar, and the Hoosiers just six total shots in the half.
“We didn’t create enough,” head coach Todd Yeagley said after the game. “We’re still missing frame, which is a disappointment.”
Back for the second half, Wisconsin played forward more – instead of waiting back like in the first half – and it almost paid off for the Badgers. Four minutes into the half, senior forward Jack Finnegan fired the Badgers’ first shot on goal, forcing senior goalkeeper JT Harms to make his first – and only – save of the game.
Three minutes later, freshman forward Markie Hrvojevic fired one wide to the left, scaring Harms. The Badgers pressed the Hoosiers for the first ten minutes of the second half but came out empty-handed. Indiana’s defense was well-posted and didn’t let Wisconsin bring too much danger to Harms’ goal.
“We didn’t give them anything,” Yeagley said. “They would have to earn it, and they didn’t pose much of a threat.”
After having survived the initial pressure, the Hoosiers took back control of the game and created a couple of chances with senior forward Karsen Henderlong. With 26 minutes to go, Henderlong was fouled near the box and took the free kick himself but fired straight into the wall.
Indiana continued to press Wisconsin and created its best chances near the end of the game.
The Hoosiers' most acute chance came with nine minutes left in the game off the left. Freshman forward Collins Oduro ran past the defender and crossed a low ball for junior forward Samuel Sarver inside the six-yard box, who missed the ball.
A few minutes later, Indiana had a couple of back-to-back chances when Oduro fired from the edge of the box just over the bar and senior midfielder Quinten Helmer headed from inside the box, forcing Crockford to make a diving save.
Without a true number nine in the team, the wingers took it upon themselves to be more aggressive and try to score but it did not work.
“As they get a little frustrated, they’ve got to continue to do and play to their strengths,” Yeagley said. “I think at times we’re not setting up teammates to their strengths.”
The Hoosiers finished with just two shots on goal in 10 attempts – the second straight game held to 10 shot attempts or less.
Next, Indiana looks to bounce back from a two-game stretch without scoring at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 against Butler University at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The match will be streamed live on Big Ten+.
“It takes time,” Yeagley said referring to turning things around. “Time is always the hardest.”