Dec 13, 2013; Chester, PA, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Patrick Mullins (15) is congratulated by midfielder Tsubasa Endoh (31) after scoring a goal in the first half against the Virginia Cavaliers at PPL Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Maryland men’s soccer grabbed their second win in a row and first conference win as a member of the Big Ten on Friday night. After beating Dayton 1-0 on Monday at Ludwig Field, Maryland continued the positive play and beat Wisconsin 2-0. This marks Maryland’s first back to back winning streak of the season, and the first two clean sheets for sophomore goalie Zack Steffen.
Both teams entered Friday night’s game needing a win, as both teams were winless in the Big Ten and Wisconsin had only one win on the season. A physical game at first, with the Terrapins struggling in the final third with the size and strength of the Badgers. Following the halftime break, Maryland began to find more space in the attacking third and found the net twice to win 2-0.
The Terrapins dominated possession throughout the night and limited Wisconsin’s chances to counter attacks. However, Maryland still left themselves vulnerable in the back because of the numbers they were sending up. Wisconsin had a couple of counter attacks in the first half that were more threatening than the offense Maryland was putting together.
In the second half, the possession story remained the same with Maryland dominating the ball, but they cleaned up shaky play from the back line. Maryland’s midfielders and forwards were doing a better job of connecting on passes in the final third, and mixing up passes between the middle of the pitch and the wide areas. The game opened up, and Maryland showed why they were one of the better teams in the conference despite their record. The back line was cleaner with their deliveries, which prevented Wisconsin from getting the same counter attacks they had in the first half.
Two freshmen, Jeroen Meefout and Eric Carbajal, connected on passes inside the box before Carabajal found sophomore Michael Sauers who scored the games opening goal. Sauers delivered a cheeky chip shot in the upper 90, past Archbishop Spadling alum Casey Beyers. This was Sauers second goal of the season, with the first one coming against Coastal Carolina.
Set pieces have been critical for Maryland as the tend to run up a high number of corner kicks and free kicks in their games. On Friday, Maryland finished with nine corner kicks on the night. With a tall team that features five players over six foot, it is important for Maryland to take advantage of these opportunities. Senior Dan Metzger did just that as a headed the second goal of the night past Beyers off of a Mikey Ambrose free kick. Metzger has been one of Maryland’s best players this season and a rock in the midfield. He was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list preseason, and has currently started all eight games and played 749 minutes out of a possible 760 this season. The steady play he provided in the midfield tonight made it possible for Maryland to maintain much of the ball.
Here is a BTN clip of Metzger’s goal vs Wisconsin:
Maryland finishes up their four game home stand on Tuesday night in the Battle of the Beltway vs #11 Georgetown. The Hoyas are currently 4-1-3 and play host to Butler on Saturday night. Both teams share a common opponent from this season, as Georgetown beat Wisconsin 4-1 in Washington DC on September 7. Junior Brandon Allen is the player to watch for the Hoyas as he has five goals and two assist to his name already this season. Allen was named TopDrawerSoccer’s Freshman of the Year in 2012, and last season he was named to TopDrawerSoccer’s Best XI Second Team. Maryland appears to be hitting their stride, which comes at a great time with the upcoming stretch of four games featuring two teams in the top 15 of the NSCAA polls.
Maryland Starters vs Wisconsin
GK: Zack Steffen
Def: Mikey Ambrose, Jereme Raley, Suli Dainkeh, Chris Odoi-Atsem
Mid: Michael Sauers, Dan Metzger, Mael Corboz, Tsubasa Endoh, Eric Carbajal
For: George Campbell
Goals: Sauers (2 – 53′); Metzger (2 – 59′)