April 28, 2017
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – In front of a capacity crowd of 3,500 enthusiastic fans on what turned out to be a picturesque Friday night at Alumni Stadium, the University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s soccer programs played host to members of the Mexico National Team youth program for the 12th time since 2005. The Mexico Under-20 Women’s National Team emerged with a 2-0 win over Notre Dame before the Irish men’s team blanked the Mexico U-18 MNT by a 5-0 final score.
Mexico U-20 National Team 2, Notre Dame Women’s Soccer 0Mexico opened a 1-0 lead in the 34th minute. Belen Cruz finished a drop pass from Daniela Espinosa for the Mexico advantage at 33:32 of the first half.
Notre Dame, which finished the game with a 17-11 advantage in shots, carried a 12-4 edge on the shot chart over Mexico in the second half. A pair of shots for Sandra Yu, a try by Monica Flores, and a header from Natalie Jacobs went just wide.
Mexico found an insurance goal during the 56th minute. Gabriela Juarez found a loose ball that deflected following a free kick and hammered it home from eight yards out for the 2-0 visitors’ advantage.
Notre Dame continued to apply the pressure over the final 30-plus minutes of game action, peppering the Mexico cage with seven total shots.
Play of the Game
A drop pass from Kaitlin Klawunder found Sabrina Flores cutting to the net in space during the 13th minute. Flores ripped a hard shot at the Mexico net that just sailed over the crossbar.
In a back-and-forth affair through the first 30 minutes, Mexico broke through for the first goal in the 34th minute. Belen Cruz finished a feed from Daniela Espinosa from eight yards out for the 1-0 Mexico lead at 33:32.
Note of the Game
Mexico earned its first win in the series since claiming a 4-1 victory over Notre Dame in the 2010 edition of the game.
Notre Dame Men’s Soccer 5, Mexico U-18 National Team 0Notre Dame raced out to an early 1-0 lead in the third minute of the doubleheader nightcap. Jon Gallagher took a free kick from head-on at the top of the 18-yard box and drilled it into the right corner of the net for the 1-0 Irish lead at 2:56.
Jeffrey Farina got in on the act for Notre Dame in the 12th minute. A looping corner kick from Jack Casey at the far flag found a soaring Farina in the penalty area, and a header home made it 2-0 Notre Dame.
After narrowly missing a goal in the 42nd minute, Gallagher would not be denied. Thomas Ueland sent a perfect through ball up the middle of the field to the streaking Gallagher, who flicked a shot inside the left post for his second of the night at 42:12 for the 3-0 Notre Dame lead.
Notre Dame added to its lead in the early stages of the second half to pad the total. Ueland and Gallagher worked the ball down the right wing before lacing a pass across the box to Casey at the left post. The freshman midfielder buried it home at 58:17 for the 4-0 Irish advantage.
The final Irish goal was found in the 65th minute. Off a Ueland corner, Matt Habrowski blasted a header inside the six-yard box into the back of the net. Habrowski’s second career goal against Mexico capped the Notre Dame scoring at 5-0.
Play of the Game
Jeffrey Farina gave Notre Dame a multi-goal lead in the 12th minute. A looping corner kick from the left flag off the foot of Jack Casey found an unmarked Farina in front of the Mexico goal. Farina skied for the 50-50 ball and headed it home inside the left post for the 2-0 Irish edge at 11:55.
A yellow card from a rough tackle by Mexico’s Daniel Parra put Notre Dame in business on the offensive end in the third minute of the opening half. A free kick at the top of the 18 by Jon Gallagher was buried in the top right corner of the Mexico net, vaulting Notre Dame ahead 1-0 at 2:56.
Note of the Game
Notre Dame improved to 8-3-1 all-time in its series with Mexico, defeating the U-18 edition of the national team for the very first time.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men's soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.