The Maryland Terrapins men’s soccer team opened the 2014 season on Friday night at Louisville’s brand new Lynn Stadium. The ACC’s newest team, Louisville, opened their $20 million soccer-specific stadium in front of 7,047 people who saw the Cardinal’s women’s team beat Ole Miss 1-0 and the #14 ranked men’s team beat the ACC’s oldest member, #2 Maryland, 1-0. Sophomore Andrew Brody of Louisville scored the lone goal of the night, placing a header in the upper right hand corner, the only place Maryland goalie Zack Steffen couldn’t get to.
Aside from giving up the lone goal, Steffen played a great game. He cleaned up on numerous passes into the box and made a couple of saves throughout the night. Louisville’s goal was more a result of a lazy pass in the defensive third, a well placed cross, and an even better header. Steffen was able to keep Maryland alive for most of the night with plenty of solid plays on the ball, but the Terrapins struggled against Louisville’s pressure.
A theme of the night for the Terrapins was the lack of a true striker. Maryland dominated possession in the first half, but was unable to create many chances. Towards the end of the first half, Maryland created several opportunities but was unable to get on the right side of passes and test the Louisville keeper. Tsubasa Endoh did a great job throughout the first half of breaking down defenders and sending crosses into the box, unfortunately no one from Maryland was able to get on the end of them. Louisville had more shots in the first half (3-2) despite not having much possession of the ball.
In the second half, the game settled to a comfortable pace for both sides, even though it was still scoreless at the start of the half. Maryland struggled with the pace of the game as the half progressed. Louisville did a great job of pressuring Maryland but also taking the air out of the ball when they had control. The Terrapins were careless with the ball on several occasions even after giving up a goal off a poor turnover.
Maryland had a clear height and size advantage over the Cardinals, but were unable to take advantage of this on set pieces. Maryland had multiple corner kicks and free kicks, but they were unable to deliver playable balls into the box. Redshirt freshmen, Emmanuel Korvah, found himself in great positions within the box, but on multiple plays he was unable to time his jumps with incoming crosses.
Along with Endoh, sophomore Daniel Johnson provided a good spark for the Terrapins off of the bench. Louisville began to pressure Endoh and limit his touches in the second half. When Johnson came in, he provided control and pace from the other side. The combination of Endoh and Johnson helped Maryland create several opportunities late in the game. However it was too little too late for the Terrapins tonight, but in the future I believe that Johnson will see the pitch more.
Similar to a couple of games last season, Maryland was sleeping walking through out the ninety. Too often Maryland was careless and lazy, and they seemed to play with a sense of entitlement as if they would win the game because they have been to two straight College Cups. While that may work against some of the weaker opponents Maryland plays, it won’t work against a team like Louisville who has goals of winning the ACC and advancing to the College Cup.
Coach Cirovski and his team will need to clean up the poor play as they have a quick turn around. Maryland plays host to #17 Coastal Carolina on Monday night in their home opener. Coastal Carolina beat #8 UConn tonight 3-2, with MAC Herman Trophy watch list player Ricky Garbanzo assisting on two goals and scoring the game winner. Kick off is at 7:00 pm on Monday at Ludwig field.
Maryland starters vs Louisville
GK: Zack Steffen
Def: Alex Cognale, Mikey Ambrose, Jereme Raley, Suli Dainkeh
Mid: Dan Metzger (c), Tsubasa Endoh, Mael Corboz, Alex Shinsky
Forward: George Campbell, David Kabelik
Disciple: Endoh – red card (86′)