Spartans open 2019 with scoreless draw against SIUE

Alaa Algahim impresses in debut, but game ends scoreless after 110 minutes

Adam Bakr, Men's Soccer Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State men’s soccer team kicked its competitive season off with a scoreless draw against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Despite dominating the Cougars for a majority of the game, the Spartans were unable to find a breakthrough at DeMartin Stadium.

MSU controlled comfortably in the early stage but failed to create a dangerous chance, resorting to shots from the outside that SIUE goalkeeper Noah Heim was able to save comfortably. The bright sports offensively came mainly through link up between Alaa Algahim and Farai Mutatu, but the Cougar defense held strong.

The Michigan State defense had a strong showing, but not without a few miscues at the back that gave the Cougars chances to get in behind. The backline was able to recover and none of the chances lead to shots on goal. 

The second half passed without either team being able to create much in the open play. Set pieces offered both sides their best looks at goal, but never did it lead to a major chance. 

Alex Shterenberg/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

The game would go into overtime and the first 10 minutes followed the theme of the second half, with neither side coming close to breaking the deadlock.

It looked like Michigan State’s fortunes would change in double overtime, as Alex Shterenberg began to leave his mark on the game. First he set up Algahim in the box after a great piece of skill, but after a nice turn, his shot came back off the post.

Shtrenberg then found a pocket of space on the edge of the box to get off his own shot that Heim was able to tip over. The following corner saw the ball come out to Shtrenberg, who was able to draw a questionable penalty, as it looked like the SIUE defender had gotten the ball. 

Much to the dismay of the MSU team, Farai Mutatu saw his penalty saved to Noah Heim’s right with two minutes remaining, and that would be the last real chance to break the deadlock. The game finished scoreless after 110 minutes. 

Alaa Algahim/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Despite the draw, there were still positives to take from the game. Alaa Algahim was one of many players making their first start Friday, and he impressed in his debut.  

“We have to score goals to win, so we need to find the back of the net soon,” Algahim said on what he took from the match. “Hopefully next game.”

For head coach Damon Rensing, this was the beginning of his 11th season as head coach. He shared his thoughts on the core of new starters he fielded today. 

“I think most of the guys came in and gave us some stuff,” Rensing said. “I like this group a lot, I just think it might take time, unfortunately in the college season don’t have a lot.”

Contact Adam Bakr at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @Adambakr14.