The Maryland soccer team faced their first and largest test of the season in just their second week as they faced UCLA on Friday evening.
The Terrapins and Bruins have had a knack for having thrilling games and Friday was no different. Similar to the 2015 meeting, Sebastian Elney got the ball in the box and buried the game-winner to give Maryland a 3-2 victory.
Forwards Gordon Wild and Eric Matzelevich also added goals for the Terps.
Terrapins head coach Sasho Cirovski labeled this night “one of the best in college soccer”, and he could not have been more accurate.
Maryland started off rather chippy, receiving a yellow card in just the 12th minute. Amar Sejdec took down UCLA’s Anderson Asiedu as he attempted to break away from the Terps on the counter attack.
The first half was dominated in the midfield, with Maryland getting the best chances at scoring, but not quite breaking through. The Terps had seven shots to the Bruins one, and goalkeeper Kevin Silva of UCLA had the only save.
The Bruins also had 10 fouls compared to six from Maryland, closing a rather chippy half.
It didn’t take long for the second half to change speeds. Just 11 minutes into the half, Maryland received a penalty after a UCLA handball in the box. Wild stepped up and netted the first goal, giving the Terps a lead with just over 34 minutes remaining in the contest.
Maryland’s lead would only last so long, as a UCLA corner in the 61st minute ends up bouncing around in the box, and was put in by Erik Holt. The goal came after a ball was shot off the crossbar and bounced back towards the penalty dot.
The Terps would then capitalize on an error by Silva, who played a ball out of bounds, allowing Maryland a quick throw in. The ball landed on the foot of Eryk Williamson, who lofted the ball to the top of the box where Eric Matzelevich nailed it on the volley to put Maryland up 2-1 with under 18 minutes left in regulation.
With time running out, UCLA was awarded a free kick at the top of the box after Maryland slid into a Bruins player after a shot went high. This is where Brian Iloski curled a ball into the right side of the net, leveling the game at two goals each.
This sent the game into overtime, the first extra session for both Maryland and UCLA this season.
The UCLA Bruins felt a bit of deja vu, as Sebastian Elney scores the game winning goal, just as he did against the Bruins in 2015 when they last visited Ludwig Field.
After the game, Elney said only one thing was on his mind, “the back of the net.” His new teammate, a new transfer from UCLA, Chase Gasper said that being on this side of a game winner by Elney felt “much better.”
Gasper went on to say that this night was a true example of all the reasons he chose to come back home. Everything from fans to family made this night truly one of the best in college soccer.
The crowd of 7,532 was the fourth largest at Ludwig Field, and they sure did get a treat. Maryland continues their season at home against Cal Poly on September 4.