Courtesy of Western Michigan Athletic Communications
ANN ARBOR, Mich.- Western Michigan men’s soccer led Michigan, 1-0, at halftime, but the Wolverines rallied for three goals in the second half to defeat the Broncos, 3-1, Wednesday evening at U-M Soccer Stadium. Sophomore center back Connor Furgason tallied his second career goal for WMU, while freshman midfielder Edu Jimenez tallied his second career assist.
Furgason’s goal came on a header off a free kick on the right by Jimenez in the 11th minute. Furgason leapt above the crowd and knocked the ball off the bottom of the crossbar down over the end line. WMU’s defense then weathered four consecutive corners by Michigan midway through the first half to hold onto a 1-0 advantage at halftime.
Western Michigan (3-6-0) enjoyed the lead for 34 minutes, but the Wolverines came out firing in the second half. After being held to just two shots in the first 45 minutes, U-M pounded away for 21 shots, including 10 on goal, in the second half. Western Michigan sophomore goalie Chase Rau made all of his season-high seven saves in the final period.
It took Michigan just 23 seconds following the kickoff to tie the score in the second half. Tyler Arnone slammed home a shot off an assist by TJ VanSlooten. Michigan’s Yamann Sahlool had a chance outside the six in the 55th minute, but was turned away with a diving save by Rau. Rau went on to make back-to-back saves two minutes later as the Wolverines continued to press. U-M took 11 shots, five on goal, over a span of four minutes.
Malcolm Miller put Michigan ahead in the 66th minute, scoring on Colin McAtee’s pass from the right flank at the near post. There were opportunities for Western Michigan to counter over the next three minutes, but a close-range shot by WMU’s Matheau Rogers went wide right and a header by Furgason sailed over the goal.
Michigan (3-3-3) stretched its lead to 3-1 in the 81st minute. Rau came off his line to make a save on a breakaway by James Murphy and the rebound fell to an unmanned backside where Marcos Ugarte was there to finish.
“I thought the men played a good game tonight, we came out with the right mentality,” said WMU head coach Chad Wiseman. “Our goal was fantastic, the delivery from Jimenez was great and Furgason did great to get on the end of it.
“Starting the second half with the lead we knew Michigan was going to come at us and we did not do a good job of handling that, poor leadership and recognition. I expect more from the upper classman in those situations. However, the response from the players once we found ourselves down a goal was fantastic. We had three or fourr windows to tie the game and just didn’t have the quality in the final third.”
Western Michigan totaled seven shots and three corner kicks in the game. Michigan ended with 23 shots and 10 corner kicks. The win helped the Wolverines avenge a 2-1 loss on their home turf against the Broncos the last time the two met in 2011.
“We have a lot of positives from tonight’s match we will take with us as we prepare for our MAC home opener. Sam Bell and Chase Rau were absolutely fantastic tonight, really excited about their growth with our team. Our schedule to this point has been difficult, but I believe we will be very much ready for the MAC schedule because of it.”
The Broncos will take a 10-day break before its next outing. Western Michigan hosts Buffalo in WMU’s Mid-American Conference opener, facing former head coach Stu Riddle, Saturday, Oct. 12, over Homecoming weekend.