On Tuesday, August 20, the Maryland men’s soccer team got the ball rolling on their 2013 campaign when they traveled to Penn State for an exhibition game. This was the first of two exhibition games the Terps will play before beginning the season August 30 at Stanford. This was also Maryland’s first game without forward Christiano Francois and defender Jordan Cyrus.
Maryland returns arguably the best offense in division one soccer, but only found the back of the net once against the Nittany Lions. Mac Herman Trophy winner Patrick Mullins converted a penalty kick in the 37th minute for the Terps lone goal. It is disappointing to see Maryland only notch one goal, and especially with it coming off of a penalty kick. However, with the recent suspension of Francois, and Jake Pace returning from the Maccabiah games, the Maryland offense hasn’t had much time to get itself into form.
The Terrapin offense still dominated the game despite only finding the net through a penalty kick. Maryland outshot Penn State 13-3 in the 60 minute affair (each half was 30 minutes). Penn State returned most of their defense, and are the reigning Big Ten regular season champions.
With the loss of Jordan Cyrus, Maryland’s defense has become an even bigger area of concern. They allowed Penn State to score the first goal of the game in the seventh minute. But they settled down afterwards, and held Penn State to only three shots total. Also impressive for the young defense was that they held Penn State to no corner kicks, while the Maryland offense generated six of them.
The final exhibition game for the Terps will be on Saturday, August 24, when they face the St. John\’s Red Storm. St. John’s finished last year with a 4-3-1 Big East record, and 10-5-4 record overall. They lost 2-1 to Georgetown in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. The Red Storm defense is lead by Tim Parker, a sophomore who started sixteen games last year. St. John’s also returns their goalkeeper from last year, Rafael Diaz, who is ranked as the 66th best player by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
St. John’s will be another good test for Maryland, and their high power offense. With game film to look at, and a better understanding of who coach Sasho Cirovski is expecting to step up in Francois’ place, I would expect a better performance from Maryland. It will be still a tough game for Maryland, because of the experience that St. John’s has, but with senior forwards Mullins and Pace, Maryland’s offense is in good hands.
Maryland will have six days off after their final exhibition game before the regular season starts. They travel to Palo Alto to face preseason ranked #20 Stanford on August 30. Two days later, Maryland will be in Berkley to face the Cal Bears, and wrap up their two game California trip.
The exhibition game vs St. John’s is open to the public, and kick off in scheduled for 7:00 at Ludwig field. Maryland’s home opener is against the Duke Blue Devils on Friday September 6 at 7:30. Get their early on September 6, if you want to secure a seat for Maryland’s final ACC home game against Duke.