Chester, Pa. – Playing In their first College Cup Notre Dame proved to be well up to occasion, beating New Mexico 2-0, to ensure an all ACC final on Sunday.
Red hot goal scoring midfielder Patrick Hodan continued his prolific ways, scoring twice tonight, that’s at least one a game in the past six games for Hodan.
Hodan was hardly alone, he had a pretty good wingman in Hermann Trophy candidate Harrison Shipp, who brilliantly set up Hodan for the opener in the game’s seventh minute. Shipp said after the game, “ the guy tried to foul me, he grabbed me from behind and I’m pretty sure they thought the ref was going to call a foul, so the guy kind of froze.”
It was in those little moments that Notre Dame outperformed New Mexico and that is something that will haunt the Lobos when they think back on this game. New Mexico coach Jeremy Fishbein said that Notre Dame, “played quite well.” But the Lobos coach was disappointed in how his team finished their season, saying, “it’s a tough way to go (out).” “I wish I could say we were at our best today,”the coach continued, “I think we were all kind of disappointed with our performance.” Fishbein credited Notre Dame but he concluded, “I just didn’t think we had it today, and it was unfortunate that it came in the national semifinals.”
Shipp was excellent all game, the Chicago Fire property was inventive and dangerous throughout, and it looks like the Fire have gotten themselves a good one.
The Irish were on top most of the night, with their attack minded midfield controlling the tempo and enjoying plenty of space. Hodan, and Evan Panken were to the fore, but Connor Kletkota and Nick Besler clogged up the middle, while keeping the ball moving into Shipp and power forward Vince Cicciarelli.
New Mexico’s attack too often resorted to lobbing high balls into the Notre Dame box, balls that Notre Dame center backs Andrew O’Malley and Grant Van De Casteele were only too happy to clear to safety.
Playing with a 2- 0 lead Notre Dame retreated into a shell allowing the Lobos to dominate the closing stages of the match. Christopher Wehan, Michael Calderon and James Rogers led the New Mexico charge, but Irish keeper Patrick Wall was never unduly troubled, and soon Notre Dame were on their way to Sunday’s National Championship game, or “dancing in December,” as coach Bobby Clarke put it afterwards.
One interested on looker was New England Revolution coach Jay Heaps, and with two selections in next month’s MLS SuperDraft, where else would he be.