Maryland Slide Continues After Dropping Big Ten Home Opener


Dec 15, 2013; Chester, PA, USA; Maryland Terrapins midfielder Alex Shinsky (9) reacts after losing to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2-1 during the division I chamionship soccer game at PPL Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Maryland Terrapins soccer team continued their rough start to the 2014 season after dropping Friday night’s Big Ten home opener to Michigan State. Maryland now has one win on the season in six matches, with no wins in the Big Ten. In front of a packed crowd at Ludwig Field, Michigan State’s Jason Stacy scored eight minutes into the game, and despite battling back Maryland could not find an equalizer.

Michigan State improved their record to 4-1-1 and 1-0 in the Big Ten. Maryland now drops to 0-1-1 in the Big Ten and 1-3-2 on the season with the lone win coming against #17 Coastal Carolina. The Terrapins will welcome Dayton to College Park on Monday night, the Flyers are 3-2-1 and are coming off a 5-0 win against IUPUI on Friday night.

Despite finishing the game with an 8-2 shot advantage, Maryland could not find the back of the net. This has been an on going problem with the Terrapins who have scored five goals in six matches all season. Coach Sasho Cirovski has been searching for an answer to the goal scoring problem, and tonight was no different as he used five different forwards in the first half alone. Replacing Patrick Mullins has been much tougher for Sasho than originally thought, despite having a talented group of young forwards.

After starting the five previous games, highly touted freshman George Campbell was left off the starting eleven tonight. The Gatorade Player of the Year in Maryland was used in a reserve role in the first half, but impressed Sasho enough to get the nod in the second half. While Campbell didn’t register a shot all night, he was much more active than the other forwards and created several opportunities for teammates. Campbell was clearly motivated by being left off the starting eleven for a primetime BTN game, and used his time on the pitch to show how important he is to the team. Campbell used his speed both to create offensive opportunities but also to force defenders to clear their lines quicker and make mistakes.

Junior Tsubasa Endoh returned to the line up tonight after missing the previous four games with an injury. Endoh looked a couple of steps slow at first, but in the second half he was player that we know him to be. He was active in the midfield and holding off defenders with good ball control, and delivering crosses into the box. He had the most shots on goal (2) tonight for the team, but never truly challenged Michigan State’s keeper.

Maryland’s offensive problems are stemming from difficulties with the forwards. The midfield and defense did a great job tonight of holding possession and creating opportunities, and sending crosses into the box. While Michigan State was a physical team with a big back line, there were opportunities for Maryland to score. At the end of the first half, sophomore defender Alex Crognale was denied by the post on a header off of a corner kick. The best chance of the night came in the final minutes when Jereme Raley sent a cross into the box, that Mikey Ambrose headed past the keeper, but the last defender for Michigan State saved it from going in by a foot.

Even though this has been a disappointing start to the season for Maryland, there is still plenty of time and enough talent on this team to win. Sasho Cirovski has shown that he can build a consistent winner at Maryland, and bring in top level talent. Right now, the offense isn’t clicking as well as he would like, but this game showed progress. After going down early, Maryland looked like the better team for much of the game. Michigan State crossed midfield only a couple of times in the second half. The Terrapins dominated possession in the final 45 minutes, and had several opportunities to equalize. The forwards are young for Maryland, and like a shooter in basketball, all it takes is finding the back of the net once to begin to regain confidence. Maryland has played a tough schedule, which has made it difficult for the young forward to gain confidence early on, and the schedule will only continue to get tougher as the month closes out with home games against Dayton, Wisconsin, and Georgetown.

Despite not getting the result they would like, it will help Maryland to get back on the pitch sooner rather than later. Maryland should come out of Friday’s night game with confidence that they can adjust to a physical team and control possession consistently. Now all they need to do is find one of the five forwards who can put the ball in the back of the net.

Maryland Vs Michigan State Starters:

GK: Zack Steffen

Def: Alex Crognale, Mikey Ambrose, Christoffer Wallander-lanev, Chris Odoi-Atsem

Mid: Dan Metzger, Jereme Raley, Tsubasa Endoh, Mikias Eticha

For: Mael Corboz, Ryan Reid

Discipline: Ambrose (Yellow – 80′)