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Men’s Soccer: Irish to face Northwestern

Chris Allen | Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bridgeview, Ill., will be the neutral site of a grudge match Wednesday night as the Irish look to exact their revenge on Northwestern. The Wildcats have knocked the Irish out of the NCAA Championships in two consecutive seasons, although Notre Dame leads the series 12-3-1.

“Northwestern have had our number,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “They’ve knocked us out in the second round of the NCAA’s two years in a row. That’s really all you need to say. They’re well-coached and they play good soccer. Clearly, they’re a team that has a lot of credibility both in the Midwest and nationally.”

The clash between the Irish (3-2-2) and the Wildcats (3-4-0) will be played under the bright lights of Toyota Park, home to the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer. Clark said that the neutral site game between Midwest powers will act as a showcase to alumni and fans in the Chicago area.

“We thought a nice answer for this game would be to play on a neutral ground,” Clark said. “It’ll give our alumni and our fans in the Chicago area a chance to come out and see the team. We hope for a nice turnout. There’ll definitely also be a lot of Northwestern fans at the game.”

The Irish are coming off of a 1-0 weekend victory against No. 18 St. John’s at Alumni Stadium in which the Irish found the offensive rhythm they had been seeking in recent contests.

“We had nine shots on target and we outshot them 18 to seven I think,” Clark said. “There were a lot of positives from that game. The only negative is that we didn’t score more goals, but you’ve got to credit the St. John’s goalkeeper who made three great saves.”

Clark emphasized that in order to preserve their form on the offensive end of the field, the Irish need to believe in their preparation rather than focusing on the goal drought against Michigan and Michigan State Sept. 17 and 19.

“I don’t think we’ve ever really played poorly in a game, with the exception of Michigan State where we came out flat,” Clark said. “We’ve got to continue to play well. We’re not really doing anything different offensively, we just have to believe in the way we do things.”

The Irish will look to build off the St. John’s win as action gets underway against the Wildcats in Chicago on Wednesday at 7 p.m.