Junior Isaac Kannah (Plymouth, Minn./Prairie Seeds Academy) opened the scoring but two second half goals gave Fairleigh Dickinson a 2-1 win over the Northern Illinois men’s soccer team on Friday evening in the Northwestern Lakeside Classic.
“I thought that we kind of got away from how we want to play,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi.
“It’s not normally our preference to allow the other team to get a hold of the game. Credit to Fairleigh Dickinson, they are a good team and there were stretches where they were able to get a hold of the game. I don’t know if that is a mental thing on our part, or physical, but we have to get back to being ourselves a little bit more. I don’t think this was the best account of who we are or who we can be.”
NIU had the first chance of the contest after drawing a free kick on a Fairleigh Dickinson (5-1-0) handball 25 yards from goal. Senior Sean Totsch (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) took the free kick and hit it high of goal in the fourth minute.
The Knights first good look at goal came in the ninth minute as Christian Dietrich took a shot from near the top of the box that went just wide of the post to the left of NIU goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser (Walla Walla, Wash./Walla Walla/Oregon State).
Four minutes later, Martin Lukaschik’s effort for Fairleigh Dickinson went high of Glaeser. The Knights were credited for seven shots in the opening 45 minutes, but none on target.
Northern Illinois (2-5-0) took the lead in the 21st minute on Kannah’s third goal of the season. The Huskies built play through midfield before sophomore Bertrand Gaschot (Austin, Texas/Westwood) played a ball into the diagonal run of Kannah who slotted past FDU goalkeeper Jacok Lissek to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.
In the 31st minute, senior James Stevenson (Falkirk, Scotland/St. Mungo’s) had a chance to double the Huskie advantage. Stevenson started a good sequence of passing for NIU, finding Kannah who fed Gaschot who laid the ball back to Stevenson. His shot from just inside the box was saved by Fairleigh Dickinson goalkeeper Lissek.
After the halftime break, Glaeser was called upon to make his first save of the night in the 57th minute on a shot from a tight angle by Kean Lewis for the Knights. In the 67th minute, a miscommunication along the Huskie backline led to a chance for Simon Doherty but his effort went high of the goal.
Glaeser came up with another save in the 70th minute on a shot from the edge of the box by Yusuf Hamza as NIU continued to hold the 1-0 advantage.
In the 77th minute, Fairleigh Dickinson pulled even on a goal by Nicholas Walker. Glaeser punched away a cross, colliding with a Knight going up to challenge for the ball in the process. The punch fell to Walker near the top of the box and he leveled the match with Glaeser still down from the aerial challenge.
The Knights continued on the front foot as Doherty forced a save from Glaeser on a turn and shot in the 80th minute.
Fairleigh Dickinson took the lead in the 84th minute from Hamza. Nico Wright played a cross into the box from the left side; Doherty collected the cross and laid it off for a rocket by Hamza from 15 yards out that put the Knights in front.
Pressing for an equalizer in the final minutes, Kannah had an effort blocked and junior Andrew Palumbo (Ft. Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot/Darton College) pulled a shot wide as the Huskies were unable to even the match in the final six minutes.
NIU will return to Evanston, Ill., on Sunday, Sept. 22, when the Huskies wrap up the Northwestern Lakeside Classic against Saint Mary’s. Game time against the Gaels is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.