The #4 Terps kicked off a little preseason action Tuesday, Aug. 16, slipping by the Towson Tigers 4-3 at Ludwig Field. Throughout the game, Maryland had its moments of brilliant play with some ugly moments as well. Even though this was a mere exhibition, there were some things we can take away from this match, after the jump:
- First off, Patrick Mullins is a stud. The sophomore, who played the forward position for the entire game, scored two of Maryland’s goals. His first, a few seconds after a Towson score, was simply seizing an opportunity, stealing a lazy pass along the back line for an easy score. Mullins’ second goal was a little prettier, taking a pass into the center of the field, shaking the D and scoring another easy one past a frozen goalie. Cirovski said #15’s conditioning has improved, which will lead to a lot more minutes; let’s hope so.
- I liked the chemistry Townsend and Mullins had, Terp fans will not need to worry about the forward spot.
- In my preview, I noted that Sunny Jane would have to step up this year. Looks like he got the message, because he was all over the field (he started), seemingly always a few feet from the ball. He is a great energy player, always taking on bigger players and trying to make a play. He scored the first goal of the game off a gorgeous left field cross from senior Kaoru Forbess for a header. The fact that the 5’6” Jane outleaped everyone for that goal is all you need to know about his style of play.
- Name to remember: Jereme Raley. A local product from St. Mary’s, Ryken looked great coming off the bench. He provided some great passes and runs at the midfield spot and a couple wow plays with his foot skill. He’s my sleeper for a big year.
- Alex Shinsky, the nation’s #1 recruit according to TopDrawerSoccer.com, got some major minutes and he looked…ok. He didn’t wow, and he played like you would expect any freshman to play. The midfielder looked a little lost at times but by midseason I expect him to be a lot more involved.
- The biggest question mark coming in was going to be the goalkeeping. Luckily Will Swaim, a redshirt senior, decided to return for his fifth year to provide some experience. But it wasn’t the best game for the Terps’ keeper, giving up three easy goals. However, there wasn’t much help on defense. The backline played great in the first half of the game, allowing Maryland to take a 3-1 lead but slowly the Tigers crawled back to a 3-3 tie. There were times the D was easily split, allowing for easy shots to be taken on Swaim and Jordan Tatum, who replaced him late in the second half. Hopefully this is them working the kinks out and not something bigger.
- The fact that Towson came back from a 3-1 hole was disheartening; not being able to close out is a sign of youth and inexperience. I’m not putting much into it due to the game being an exhibition but it’s something to be noted.
- Probably the scariest moment of the game was two instances in the second half when Alex Lee and Matt Oduaran went down screaming in pain after being tangled up. While Lee was able to walk off gingerly on his own, Oduaran was taken off by cart.
Overall the Terps were lucky to leave with a win at all, only taking the lead after Towson committed an own goal with four minutes left. It’s no time to panic – it was an exhibition game after all – but growing pains will be a part of this season, simple as that.
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