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Irish Tie Crew in First Spring Match

Mar 18, 2014, 9:43 PM EDT

Paced by two goals from sophomore midfielder Patrick Hodan, the Notre Dame men’s soccer squad tied the Columbus Crew, 2-2, in its first spring contest.

The team was initially slated to battle the Chicago Fire, but stormy weather in America’s heartland kept the Fire on the West Coast after a tilt against Chivas USA. This change in plans sent Notre Dame scrambling for another MLS opponent, and the Irish found a willing suitor in the Crew.

Columbus tallied a quick early goal before Hodan equalized on a goal skipper Bobby Clark said was eerily similar to that of Leon Brown in the College Cup. Like Brown’s goal against Maryland, the scoring sequence began with a Luke Mishu throw-in that was headed into the box by Nick Besler. But instead of Brown sneaking the ball just inside the back post, it was Hodan who completed the play.

Notre Dame took the lead minutes into the second half on another textbook strike from Hodan. The Crew drew even with a goal in the last ten minutes, and the game ended with both teams knotted at two. Clark was pleased with his club’s performance.

“We did a lot of things well,” Clark said. “We kept a lot of the game in their half. It was good to see Hodan get two goals, but really all of our players played well.”

Notre Dame practices primarily in the Loftus Sports Center during the winter. Due to its nature as a football field, it’s not quite as long or as wide as a regulation soccer pitch. Clark said his players were relieved to finally play on a normal field.

“It was our first game outside and on a big field in a while,” Clark said. “I think the guys were excited to finally play on a larger pitch, and even more so to do it against a quality team.”

Notre Dame only played its starters and key reserves against the Crew, typical of Clark when his team is matched against an MLS opponent. All healthy members of the Irish will play this coming weekend, though, when Notre Dame travels to Detroit to take on Michigan and Oakland. Clark and his staff will divide the squad into two mixed teams and play 70 minute games against both the Wolverines and Golden Grizzlies.

Junior forward Vince Cicciarelli has a chance to return to game action this weekend after breaking his collarbone in the College Cup. Classmate Brendan Lesch is still recovering from a torn ACL and will need a couple more weeks before he is cleared to compete.

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