CHESTER, Pa. — In their first College Cup appearance in program history, Notre Dame will be playing for their first national championship in program history after defeating New Mexico 2-0 in Friday night’s first NCAA men’s soccer tournament semifinal game at PPL Park.
Sophomore midfielder Patrick Hodan scored both goals for the Fighting Irish, running his tally to seven in the team’s six games since the end of the regular season. Hodan opened the scoring in the seventh minute, slotting easily past Patrick Poblete after a clever slip-pass from Chicago Fire Homegrown Harrison Shipp, who collected the ball in midfield and ran through most of New Mexico's defense before feeding Hodan.
Hodan doubled Notre Dame’s lead in the 65th minute, with Shipp once again playing the role of provider. The Hermann Trophy finalist sprang free down the left and fed a low cross to Vince Cicciarelli, whose shot from close range pinged off the crossbar and was cleaned up on the doorstep by Hodan.
Notre Dame came out firing in the first half, putting the Lobos on their heels with relentless runs out of midfield. The Fighting Irish nearly doubled their lead in the 14th minute off an almost identical sequence that led to the first goal. New Mexico’s MLS Combine invitee Michael Kafari turned the ball over to Shipp, who ran at the Lobos defense and once again tried to find Hodan, who couldn’t control the pass.
New Mexico began to string together possession as the first half went on, putting four shots on Notre Dame ‘keeper Patrick Wall’s goal. The pressure continued in the second half, and the Lobos nearly got on the board in the 64th minute when freshman midfielder Christopher Wehan cracked a shot from 25 yards that just went wide of Wall’s left post.
Notre Dame will play Maryland -- the winner of Friday night’s second semifinal match -- in Sunday’s final (3 pm ET, ESPNU).
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
The sophomore's scoring tear continues with a brace against a Lobos defense that had been sitting on a 317-minute shutout streak. Great movement and composure on the ball all night.
Might be the best player in the country right now, putting in a terrorizing performance against New Mexico. Working from the hole, his runs put UNM on their heels right from the gun, and it's no surprise that he engineered both goals as a pure No. 10.
Didn't get a goal after being denied by the post, but his dirty work up top created tons of space for Hodan and Shipp to operate with in the midfield.