Rain can quench a desperate thirst, but it can also extinguish a freshly lit flame.
No. 21 Duke (6-4-1, 2-3-0 in the ACC) went down 1-0 in South Bend, Ind., Friday night, giving Notre Dame (7-4-1, 1-4-0) its first conference win of the season at Alumni Stadium. The Blue Devils struggled all night to adapt to the muddy grass, but nothing concrete could be put together in the blowing wind and the pouring rain. After three solid games, Duke once again found itself on the wrong side of a rollercoaster contest.
Jack Lynn, Forward, Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish's leading scorer proved to be too much for the Blue Devil defense. He had three attempts in the game, connecting on the only goal of the night. In the 64th minute, Lynn seized an opportunity off a failed clear in the box. In a tiny space surrounded by three Duke defenders, he found an open lane and deftly put the ball between the legs of Blue Devil defender Aedan Stanley. Duke goalie Pulisic made a swift movement, but the ball beat him by a split second.
Lynn also demonstrated his field vision with his incisive passes in the first half. Less than 10 minutes into the game, he placed a perfect lob from the right flank and his teammate Aiden McFadden headed the ball into the net. The Blue Devils were saved temporarily by an offside call that whistled off the goal. Six minutes later, Lynn tore the Duke defense apart again with a through pass that led midfielder Mohamed Omar to an ideal service spot, but the crossing wasn’t accurate enough to connect with the targets.
Max Moser, Midfielder, Duke
After starting 32 games of his first two years at Duke, Max Moser has not entered the starting lineup this season while still leading the team in the assist category. Max Moser played a total of 71 minutes in this game, the most since the season opener against Furman back in August. The fact that Coach Kerr was confident enough to put Moser onto a chunky field for so long might be an indication that the Austrian is close to full recovery.
Moser created one of the best opportunities for the Blue Devils in this lackluster performance. In the late first half, he skipped past one defender and made a determined 40-yard run on the right flank before the Irish defense could settle down. He then fired a quick shot that beat the Irish goalkeeper, but the ball missed the goal by several inches and went out of the line.
Will Pulisic, Goalkeeper, Duke
Whenever Pulisic has to make brilliant saves, the Blue Devils are in deep trouble and this one is no different. Three minutes before halftime, the Fighting Irish swung in a high-arcing crossing from the left side. Midfielder Patrick Coleman received the ball perfectly and followed up with a forceful turnaround strike. Pulisic made an instant reaction and blocked the shot with a jumping save. He had three saves Friday.
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6 Duke shots vs. 15 Notre Dame shots
Duke was outshot by the Fight Irish in both halves. Six was the second-lowest number of attempts this season for the Blue Devils and the only game that Duke created fewer shots was against Clemson. While the Blue Devils were completely smothered by the Tiger defense in South Carolina, the situation in this game was partialy caused by the weather. The ball was hard to control and its speed and placement became more unpredictable. Two of Duke’s most creative attackers, Daniel Wright and Daniele Proch were almost invisible during the game as they couldn’t find their rhythms.
Three yellow cards
Duke received three yellow cards in the game. Freshman Scotty Taylor got the first yellow of his college career in the first half, while Proch and Brandon Williamson each had one in the second. Proch may have to scale back the aggression as he now accumulated three yellow cards this season.
Following this defeat, Duke is now 0-6-1 at Notre Dame. The waiting for the first win at Alumni Stadium continues.
The Blue Devils will continue on the road against Elon on Tuesday, hoping to regain some confidence in a place closer to home. They will come back to Koskinen Stadium for more in-state competition Friday when North Carolina State comes to town.