The Michigan State Spartans men’s soccer team is just about done with its abridged season. MSU has had a rocky season to say the least, sitting at just 2-6 overall with games against Wisconsin and at Ohio State left.
MSU will face off against Wisconsin on Wednesday, March 31 at 2 p.m. EDT at DeMartin Stadium in East Lansing. Then the final regular season game will be at Ohio State on Sunday, April 4 at 2 p.m. EDT at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Game One: Rutgers 2-Michigan State 0
The Spartans opened up the soccer season the same way they opened football, with the program’s first ever loss to Rutgers. The teams played inside Schoolcraft College’s indoor facility in Livonia back on Feb. 19. The Scarlet Knights scored a goal in each half while shutting out the Spartans. Michigan State had five total shots on goal, while RU had just four.
Game Two: Michigan State 0-Michigan 1
Michigan State fell in the first game of the season against Michigan in a neutral site meeting at the Legacy Center Sports Complex in Brighton on Feb. 23. The Wolverines scored in the 34th minute to take a 1-0 lead and shut out the Spartans for the remainder of action. The teams both had seven shots in the game, but Michigan had a 3-2 advantage in shots on goal despite Umar Farouk Osman being sent off in the 43rd minute with his second yellow card and the Wolverines finishing the game a man down for the remainder.
Game Three: Michigan State 1-Penn St 0
The Spartans finally got both their first goal of the season and first win in a road trip to Penn State on Feb. 27. PSU moved to 2-1 on the season with the loss, while MSU got a commanding win in the Nittany Lions’ indoor football practice facility. Michigan State had a 15-7 shot advantage, and a whopping 4-0 shots on goal advantage. Junior midfielder Jack Beck finally found the back of the net on an assist from Michael Miller in the 87th minute to clinch a victory for MSU.
Game Four: Ohio State 2-Michigan State 0
Michigan State finally played its first outdoor game of the season on March 3 in a matchup at Lansing Catholic Central against the Buckeyes. MSU fell 2-0, with Ohio State scoring a goal in each half. OSU had a 6-2 lead in shots on goal, and managed to convert two attempts coming on a direct free kick at the 8:56 mark by Laurence Wootton and the 80:23 mark by Samual Buzzas of a deflection.
Game Five: Northwestern 0-Michigan State 2
In its first true home game of the season, the Spartans defeated Northwestern 2-0 at DeMartin Stadium on March 11. MSU had a 5-1 shots on goal advantage, while the Wildcats had a mistake-riddled performance that saw 17 fouls and five offsides calls against them. Farai Mutatu scored the first goal for MSU at the 30:21 mark on an assist by Olu Ogunwale.
Then Conner George (no, not the former Michigan State basketball player, and son of volleyball head coach, Cathy George, but a different Conner George) scored the second at the 62:48 mark, assisted by Nick Stone. The graphic on Big Ten+ feed seems to have made an error in depicting the goal belonging to Maryland for some reason, but really who cares when it’s a “Victory for MSU!”
Make that 2-0 Spartans thanks to Conner George! pic.twitter.com/Zg4S2LdVMx— MSU Men's Soccer (@MSUmsoccer) March 11, 2021
Game Six: Michigan State 1-No. 23 Indiana 2
Michigan State hit the road and took on the No. 23 ranked Indiana Hoosiers in a rain soaked matchup at IU’s Jerry Yeagley Field. IU moved to 4-1 on the season, while MSU suffered its second loss of the season by just a goal while moving to 2-4 on the year overall. The goal scored by MSU marked just the second given up by Indiana all season.
Michigan State trailed in shots on goal just 2-3. Luke Morrell struck first in the game, and scored his first goal in the Green and White, at the 24:04 mark on an assist by Louis Sala to give MSU the 1-0 lead.
Center Back Goal!!@luke_morrell w/ a memorable 1st career goal in a Spartan uniform with a rocket of a header in the 25th min. off the corner by @louis2sala.— MSU Men's Soccer (@MSUmsoccer) March 15, 2021
The Spartans celebrated with a fantastic belly slide in the rain!
IU 0#GoGreen pic.twitter.com/dlbOQR9zHp
MSU was unable to stymie the Hoosiers in the second half after Farai Mutatu went down in the 59th minute with an injury and had to leave the field. He marked the fifth starter to have to miss action against Indiana due to injury. IU recovered in the second half at 61:29 on a goal by Victor Bezerra, assisted by Brett Bebej, to tie it up at 1-1. Then in the closing minutes, Daniel Munie connected on an assist from Spencer Glass for the go-ahead goal at the 87:20 mark and the 2-1 IU win.
Game Seven: Michigan State 1-Maryland 2
Michigan State and Maryland went scoreless in the first half at College Park on March 19, but the Terps outscored the Spartans 2-1 in the second half for the win. In the opening seconds of the second half, Maryland’s Paul Bin gave UMD the lead on a penalty kick at the 45:46 mark, and Maryland extended it to 2-0 at the 75:49 mark. MSU made its sole shot on goal count, though, as Gianni Ferri scored in the closing minute to see MSU lose by just one goal again, 2-1.
Game Eight: Michigan 2-Michigan State 1, OT
The Spartans faced off against the Wolverines for the second time, this time with home-field advantage. Michigan State got off to a great start as sophomore defender Nick Stone scored his first goal at MSU on a rebound by Michael Miller at the 37:26 mark to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
Stone Cold GOAL!!@nickstone2121 nets his 1st career goal for the Green & White in the 38th minute, giving the Spartans a 1-0 lead vs. Michigan, and that's the score at halftime.#GoGreen pic.twitter.com/raMuhd7Wzi— MSU Men's Soccer (@MSUmsoccer) March 23, 2021
However, MSU couldn’t keep Michigan out of the net late. The Wolverines had a 16-9 shot advantage, though just a dead even 4-4 shots on goal mark. Despite that, Jackson Ragen tied it up for Michigan at the 81:27 mark, and then in overtime Kevin Buca scored for the Wolverines. MSU’s Miller was sent off in the 92nd minute in overtime with a red card that swung momentum and helped set Michigan up for the overtime game-winning goal.
The game overall saw 31 total fouls between the teams and four cards. Perhaps we should dub these games 90-plus minutes of unnecessary roughness.
Spartans in the Pros
Former Michigan State Spartan Ryan Sierakowski was signed Friday, March 26 by the New England Revolution II of the USL League One, the third division of American soccer, ahead of their 2021 season.
Sierakowski was a four-year starter at Michigan State. He started 82 games and set the program record for most career points with 33 goals and 16 assists – averaging one point per game and he became the first and only player to lead the Spartans in scoring for four consecutive years. Sierakowski totaled 7,184 minutes at MSU, where he was teammates with current Revolution defender DeJuan Jones for all four years, and helped guide the Spartans to a semifinal berth in the 2018 NCAA College Cup.