No. 10 Indiana men’s soccer unleashed an offensive onslaught in its home opener versus DePaul on Tuesday night in Bloomington. The Hoosiers outshot the Blue Demons 31-1, with nine of the home squad’s attempts landing on goal.
The reigning Big East leader in saves per game, DePaul keeper Gandhi Cruz, was a stout final line of defense, picking up seven stops on the night. However, Indiana freshman phenom Collins Oduro netted the go-ahead goal in the 67th minute on a header, assisted by Sam Sarver.
Indiana rode the momentum from Oduro’s goal to add some insurance just nine minutes later, with Quinten Helmer coming off the bench and bending a shot from outside the box into the top left corner of the net, assisted by fellow substitute Karsen Henderlong. Helmer’s goal made the final score 2-0.
These goals followed a scoreless first half where Indiana thoroughly dominated possession, out-shooting DePaul 15-0. Whether it was poor finishing tries or a stout Blue Demon defense, the Hoosiers could not find the other side of the goal line. Indiana kept the pressure on after halftime, and the raucous home crowd was rewarded accordingly, 22 minutes after the second half began.
“We were relentless with our pressure and our intensity,” Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley said after the game. “You just felt like (a goal) was coming.”
DePaul was under constant pressure from Indiana, with Sarver and fellow winger Tommy Mihalic making run after run, attacking the Blue Demons’ perimeter defense. Yeagley said this approach was in the game plan, and ultimately it was a Sarver cross from the right wing that proved decisive. Oduro headed home his second goal in as many matches, yet again demonstrating his deft touch in the final third.
“He’s got a lot of swag,” Yeagley said of Oduro. “In a good way. Anywhere we put him, he’s dangerous. He’s delivered, as promised — a pretty special player.”
Helmer’s goal was no slouch either — the Dutch midfielder logged just 14 minutes in the match, but he made them count — and his insurance goal put any hopes of a DePaul comeback to rest.
“I saw (Cruz) was a bit too far out, and the field (felt) so good tonight,” Helmer said after the game. …I thought, ‘I have to make sure to (strike) this one (well).’ Luckily, it went in. It felt good.”
After Tuesday night’s victory, Indiana improves to 1-0-1 on the season. The Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic takes place at Bill Armstrong Stadium this weekend, with Indiana taking on No. 22 Washington on Friday night — a rematch of the 2021 NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. Two years ago, the Huskies eliminated the Hoosiers from the tournament, knocking them off 3-2 in overtime.
Indiana’s three-game homestand ends with a Monday night match versus Seton Hall. Yeagley said that because of the three-match slate over a six-day span, training will be light for players who logged significant minutes in Tuesday’s match.
In anticipation of Friday’s ranked showdown under the lights, Yeagley encouraged fans to attend.
“Washington is a pretty consistent, deep-tournament team,” he said. “They’re going to be good. I think fans will be treated to a great match on Friday. Hopefully, we can pack (Bill Armstrong Stadium).”
Indiana’s match versus the No. 22 Washington Huskies kicks off at 8 p.m. on Friday in Bloomington. The game will be Indiana’s first of a conference-high five nationally-televised matches, broadcast on the Big Ten Network.