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DePaul Defeats Northern Illinois

CHICAGO A goal early in the second half and a stingy defense enable DePaul to defeat Northern Illinois, 1-0, in an exhibition soccer match at Wish Field. Matt Leinauer scored off a corner kick in the 54th minute and Brian Visser registered the shutout in the first of three exhibition games for the Blue Demons.

The first period played even as the Blue Demons attempted just two shots by Willy Lara while holding Northern Illinois without an attempt. Nathan Feltz and Eric Hermosillo teamed up in what was thought to be the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute, but the Blue Demons were called for an offside penalty and the goal was disallowed.

Visser stuffed the lone offensive first-half attempt by the Huskies when Ben Thomas got behind the DePaul defense. The DePaul keeper came charging out of the net and ended any chance of a Northern Illinois goal with a diving stop.

The Blue Demons outshot the Huskies by an 8-4 margin and broke through early in the second half when Lara set up the play with a corner kick. His serve into the box found an open Leinauer and he fired a liner through the Northern Illinois defense and past the keeper at 53:07.

In the final minutes, Northern Illinois pushed forward and created a pair of scoring opportunities that were stopped by the DePaul defense. Finn Jor found a seam through the DePaul defense in the 84th minute, but a charging Visser made a diving one-handed save. With 1:30 left on the clock, Scott Freundlich made a foot save at the back post as Northern Illinois attempted to score on a corner kick.

DePaul totaled six corner kicks on the afternoon while the Huskies tallied one corner chance.

The Blue Demons go on the road for their next two exhibition matches with a Wednesday night date at Saint Louis. The Billikens, formerly members of Conference USA with DePaul, are ranked No. 8 in the College Soccer News top 25 and No. 19 in the NSCAA/adidas poll. On Sunday, Aug. 24, DePaul plays at Western Michigan in the final preseason match before the regular-season opener against Valparaiso on Aug. 31.

Game Notes: Including Sunday's exhibition game, DePaul has won 11 of its last 13 games at Wish Field... a year ago, the Blue Demons went 9-1-0 and enter the regular-season opener on Aug. 31 with a five-match home winning streak.