Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Maryland men’s soccer faced the Duke Blue Devils for the final time at Ludwig field as ACC rivals on Friday night. In front of a record breaking crowd of 8,937 at the on-campus stadium, Maryland scored three second half goals. The Terps picked up their first win of the season, and their first ACC victory on Friday over Duke.
Despite an electric crowd at Ludwig Field, Maryland started the game slowly. This has become a trend for the Terrapins this season, and dates back to last year as well. It was clear from kick off that Maryland had the better team, and Duke acknowledged it. Maryland controlled possession, and consistently found ways to break down the Duke defense in the mid field. The Blue Devils were playing more defensive, and looking to make Maryland beat them one on one instead of with their quick passing and give & go’s.
While Duke struggled to get the ball up front for long stretches, they were able to put pressure on the young Maryland defense with quick counters. The pressure got to the Maryland defense, and they gave up a free kick 28 yards out. The shot was lined up in about the middle of the pitch, and Duke’s Sean Davis put it past freshman goalkeeper Zach Steffen. This was Davis’ second goal of the season, and the third time in as many games that Maryland trailed in the first half.
Sean Davis’ goal came in the 25th minute, and for the remaining 20 minutes Maryland was rather lackluster. In the first 20 minutes they were able to ride the momentum of the crowd and create chances. After the goal, Duke gained more confidence in their attack and mid field play, and forced Maryland to play out wide and force crosses in.
After outshooting the Blue Devils 9-2 in the first half, Maryland was down 1-0 at the break. As mentioned, this was the third straight game that Maryland was tailing at the half. In their first two games, at Stanford and at Cal, they needed late rallies to force overtime. Against Stanford they were able to maintain the draw, but against Cal they fell in overtime. Maryland generated opportunities throughout the first half, but put many of them wide or over top of the net. Duke goalie, Alex Long, came up with two saves in the first half, but he was also helped by many inaccurate shots by the Terrapins.
The second half saw the emergence of the Maryland team everyone thought was showing up at 7:30. There is never any reason to doubt that coach Sasho Cirovski won’t be able to motivate his squad, and tonight was another example. Maryland hit another gear in the second half, and looked like the team that is projected to make another College Cup.
Tsubasa Endoh, sophomore midfielder from Toyko, was the main spark of the Terrapins offense. Duke’s defense had no answer for Endoh in the second half, as he broke down defenders and found space in the final third. Nine minutes into the second half, Endoh created just enough separation to launch a 25 yard strike past Long to tie the game at 1. The Terps were already fired up coming out of the half, but this was the final boost they needed to completely take over. Endoh’s strike was just what the doctor ordered for the Maryland fans at Ludwig, who were less than thrilled to be down 1-0 to Duke.
Just as Duke caught a break in the first half with the free kick, Maryland caught a break in the 65th minute on a corner kick. The ref and line judge were both out of position and gave Maryland a corner kick on a ball that was most certainly off of the Maryland attacker. (No complaints what so ever, the amount of calls that Duke gets in any game certainly allows for a couple of calls to go against them). Maryland made a living out of getting corner kicks, finishing the night with 12 total, and on this one Endoh delivered a well placed ball to Helge Leikvang. The senior midfielder from Norway, who without a doubt knows what the fox says, gave Maryland their first lead of the year.
Endoh’s night wasn’t over just yet. Shortly after Maryland gained their first lead of the season, Endoh dropped a dime inside the box for the regaining MAC Hermann Trophy Winner, Patrick Mullins, to put past the Duke keeper. Mullins goal came less than two minutes after Leikvang gave Maryland the lead, and this put any doubt about the night away.
Maryland’s offensive explosion in the second half was a positive sign after another slow start. The Terps put up 10 shots in the second half, and converted three of them for goals. They also won eight corner kicks in the second half, one of which was converted for a goal. The pressure from the offense effected Duke in the second half, as they picked up eight fouls and three players were booked.
Maryland will be back in action on Sunday night at Ludwig Field against VCU. The Rams started the year ranked #23 by TopDrawerSoccer.Com, but after starting the year 0-1-1 they dropped from the rankings. VCU was hoping to build off a 12 win campaign from last year, but started this year with a 4-0 loss at home to UAB, and a 1-1 draw to New Mexico. Maryland will need to get over this win against Duke quickly, as VCU will be hoping to jump start their season with a road upset.
Tonight’s attendance of 8,937 topped the Ludwig field record of 7,957 from October 14, 2011, which was Maryland’s previous home game against Duke. Maryland is all time 47-22-3 against Duke, including tonight’s win.