Dec 13, 2013; Chester, PA, USA; Maryland Terrapins midfielder Dan Metzger (7) fights for the ball with Virginia Cavaliers midfielder Eric Bird (11) at PPL Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
The Maryland Terrapins men’s soccer team beat VCU 1-0 on Wednesday night at Ludwig Field. Junior Mael Corboz converted a penalty kick in the first half, which was the only goal of the game. VCU junior goalie, Garrett Cyprus, received a red card and VCU played seven thirty minutes with only ten men.
Senior Alex Shinsky got his fifth start of the season tonight and the call paid out for Maryland. Shinsky was listed as midfielder but appeared to be playing as the lone striker, and in the sixteenth minute he stole the ball from Cyprus who then took him down in the box. Cyprus fouled Shinsky on his shot, which hit the post despite there being no goalie. The ref quickly called the intention foul on Cyprus, and gave him a red card. Mael Corboz stepped up and converted his third penalty kick of the season, and second in two games.
With Cyprus out, VCU brought on freshman goalkeeper Pierre Gardan of Lorient, France. Gardan faced a lot of pressure from Maryland, but was not tested much throughout the night. The Rams kept a solid back line, which prevented Maryland from getting clean opportunities on net. The Terrapins racked up a total of sixteen shots, but only four of them were on goal. Corboz was finding space, and lead the team with five shots but only managed to put one on net.
Zack Steffen had a low key night as he recorded his fourth clean sheet of the season. VCU had two shots on target, but they did get a couple of set pieces in the Maryland third off of fouls. Maryland’s strength and leadership comes from the back as Steffen, defender Mikey Ambrose, and midfielder Dan Metzger are the most vocal players on the pitch. The three of them anchored Maryland again tonight, helping to keep the formation tight and changed the points of act throughout possessions. Metzger is ranked as TopDrawerSoccer’s fifth best player in the Big Ten, and has an MLS homegrown contract with the New York Red Bulls, while Ambrose is a homegrown product of FC Dallas.
Assistant coach Brian Rowland was the head manager tonight as Sasho Cirovski served a one game suspension. Cirovski was livid following a missed out of bounds call at Northwestern, which led to the Wildcats game winner in overtime. After the match, Sasho had to be held back from the officials by his assistants and today the Big Ten took action with the one game suspension and a $10,000 fine. The replays showed that it was missed call by the refs, but a lot of Sasho’s frustration is with the Terrapins lack of offense this season. Tonight’s starting line-up for Maryland had no forwards listed as Maryland went with a 5-5-0 formation. At times Shinsky appeared to be playing up top, but the role was more to pressure VCU into creating a turnover then it was to act as holding forward.
Tonight did little to get Maryland fans optimistic ahead of this Sunday’s game against Penn State. While it was important to snap the two game losing streak, Maryland was unable to take advantage of the ten man VCU squad. Penn State will enter College Park on Sunday as the #3 team in the country and with a commanding six point lead in the Big Ten standings. The Nittany Lions have been one of the best teams in the country and look like a team poised to make a deep run to the College Cup. Not only is their 10-0-1 record impressive, the Nittany Lion’s have only allowed three goals all season and are scoring 1.9 goals per game. Maryland is currently tied with Indiana, Michigan State, and Rutgers with four points, which makes Sunday’s game even more critical for the Terrapins. All of the games in the Big Ten tournament are played at the higher seeds campus, and with the Terrapins struggles on the road it will be even more important to get a home game or two.
Maryland Starters vs VCU
GK: Zack Steffen
Def: Mikey Ambrose, Alex Crognale, Christoffer Wallander-Lanev, Chris Odoi-Atsem, Jereme Raley
Mid: Michael Sauers, Dan Metzger, Mael Corboz, Alex Shinsky, Mikias Eticha
Goals: Corboz (16′ – PK) (3)