Well, I got stuck in traffic coming down from Baltimore and was walking in to Ludwig field for the Terps Sweet Sixteen match up against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers just as Mikias Eticha was taking a cross to the post from Sunny Jane to give Maryland a 1-0 lead twelve and a half minutes into the game. (I didn’t actually see the goal but I got a good report on it, so…) I was also walking behind the stands when Coastal got its first shot that was knocked over the line by Maryland goalie Keith Cardona generating a corner kick but Coastal was called for a foul so the corner went for naught.
The teams exchanged shots over the next six minutes or so with neither playing particularly well defensively. The Chanticleers took advantage of a sloppy turnover in the 21st minute by the Terps in their own half that the Carolina player was able to get behind the defense and place the ball nicely into the net from straight on just outside the box. The tie would last barely a minute as the Terps countered quickly drawing a foul deep in the Coastal zone. Patrick Mullins wasted no time, knocking the ball in on a beautiful bending shot and the home team had regained a lead they would never relinquish. Over the remaining 24 minutes of the half, the Terps generated some solid scoring chances while taking 3 shots and earning 4 corners but they were unable to break through and had to settle for taking a 2-1 lead into halftime.
Maryland came out of the locker room in attack mode getting its first corner kick of the half less than five minutes in. Mullins had a good chance off the set play from Mikey Ambrose but could not quite get enough on his header and the shot was saved. Coastal was able to counter with two good chances of their own but Cardona was up to the challenge making a punch save on a shot in the 53rd minute then using every bit of his six foot four inch frame to tip a shot over the goal in the fifty fourth. It was at just about this point that Sasho made the key substitution of the game replacing Jake Pace with Christiano Francois. Francois’ speed and ball handling would play an important role in the Terps insurance goals. The first would come in the 60th minute when he would play a beautiful cross to Sunny Jane who was able to free some space from his defender and thread a brilliant shot off the far post from about 9 yards out. But the Terps and Francois were not done yet. Just about four minutes later, Christiano would out hustle a Coastal defender to control a ball a just along the back line. He played it into the box for Jane who was again able to capitalize and score easily.
With a comfortable three goal lead at 4-1 the Terps wisely pulled into their shell a abit and seemed content to play solid well shaped defense at times choosing ball control over attack. But they weren’t entirely done. After a Coastal foul, Jereme Raley took a pass from Jordan Cyrus and was able to easily put the one on one past the Chanticleer keeper from about 6 yards out with under 5 minutes to play. The Terps comfortably played out the final minutes and sent the Ludwig crowd home happy with a surprisingly easy 5-1 win. In the quarter finals, Maryland will take on Louisville on Saturday at Ludwig Field for a chance to advance to the College Cup for the first time since winning the National Championship in 2008. Game time was announced at Ludwig as 1 pm but the NCAA web site has posted a kickoff time of 5 pm so check umterps.com for information.