PEORIA, Ill. - The top-ranked Notre Dame men's soccer team played Bradley to a 2-2 draw in exhibition action on Tuesday evening at Shea Stadium. The Braves netted two equalizers in the final 12 minutes of the match to snatch the victory away from the Fighting Irish.
Bradley's Grant Bell made it 1-1 in the 78th minute, yet midfielder Connor Klekota put Notre Dame back on top 30 seconds later when he scored off assists from Leon Brown and Jeffrey Farina. The Braves leveled the contest for good in the 85th minute when Christian Okeke sent a shot to the back of the net.
Notre Dame grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute when midfielder Patrick Hodan was taken down in the box and converted the penalty kick.
"This was a nice test for us in the preseason," Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. "Full marks to Bradley. They are a tough team to play against and they had a huge crowd here tonight and the place was buzzing. It was a fantastic atmosphere."
Fighting Irish goalie Patrick Wall started and made two saves in 62:09. Brian Talcott played the rest of the match and made one save while allowing both Bradley goals. Shay Niemeyer played the entire match in goal for the Braves and made two saves.
"Both of their goals were good transition goals and I don't think he (Talcott) had a chance with either," Clark said. "This game showed us how difficult it is to win on the road. It was a great experience for our guys. Bradley is a tough team and they work hard. It gave us good practice defending set pieces and long throw-ins. They also play very direct and it was a good test for us to have to deal with that."
Notre Dame outshot Bradley 17-14, yet the Braves held a 6-4 edge in shots on goal. The Braves earned seven corner kicks, while the Irish had four.
The Fighting Irish claimed a 1-0 victory over Bradley in a 60-minute match that was held earlier in the evening. Irish freshman Jon Gallagher netted the game winner in the 53rd minute. Notre Dame used a mostly younger lineup in that contest.
"I thought we played well in both games," Clark said. "(Freshman forwards) Jon Gallagher and Jeffrey Farina both played in the first game and then came in in both halves of the second game. It was good experience for them."
Notre Dame opened exhibition play on Saturday with a scoreless draw at Saint Louis. That match was stopped in the 61st minute due to lightning in the area.
The Fighting Irish will conclude their preseason schedule on Monday with a home match versus No. 21 Wisconsin before opening the regular season Aug. 29 against No. 12 Marquette at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington, Ind.
August 19, 2014
Shea Stadium Peoria, Ill.
#1 Notre Dame 1 1 - 2
Bradley 0 2 - 2
-- Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director