The Maryland Terrapins men's soccer team had a game on their home field and a chance to add a Big Ten Tournament Championship to their resume by defeating the Indiana Hoosiers in a rematch of a contest the Terps won 2-1 in Bloomington in October. The Terps did it again by an identical score marring Indiana's road record for the first time this season.
First half - Not the same Terps
In every game since they began their ten game unbeaten string following their loss at Northwestern, the Terps have opened each game in full on attack mode and "playing off the front foot." This was not the case Sunday afternoon. Rather, it was the visiting Hoosiers opened the game with a series of quality possessions repeatedly threatening Maryalnd's defense and goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
"We went to their place and really took it to them the first time," said Coach Sasho Cirovski after the game. "I think that they remembered that and you expect a proud program to come back and be highly motivated. I think they showed that.I think they were the aggressor fora large part of the first half. I think we settled in a little bit maybe the last 15 minutes of the half."
Though Steffen wasn't called upon to make his first save until the 20th minute - and it was a spectacular punch over the goal on a shot that came off a long throw in - four of the Hoosiers first five shots were high quality chances.
Maryland finally began to find their "front footing" sometime around the 20 minute mark but Indiana's defense was aggressive and held it's shape well. The Terps first shot came in the 26th minute off Alex Shinsky's boot but was blocked before it even reached the box. The first shot that reached Indiana goalkeeper Colin Webb was a soft header by Tsubasa Endoh in the 39th minute that didn't prove much of a test.
From that point, the Terps began to turn up the pressure with Mikias Eticha getting an excellent chance in the 41st minute that Indiana deflected wide. The Hoosiers defense punched Mael Corboz'z serve on the corner kick over the back line for another Maryland corner kick. Mikey Ambrose played the ball short and a Hoosiers defender dflected the pass back toward midfield.
Endoh kept the ball in the offensive half and Ambrose served in a cross from the right. Chris Odoi-Atsem foughtoff two Hoosiers to keep the ball in the box in a dangerous position. The ball fell at the feet of Christoffer Wallender-Ianev and the freshman from Sweden was starting in place of Jereme Raley picked an opportune time to register his first goal as a Terp. Maryland took the 1-0 lead into the break.
Second half - A flipped script
The Maryland team that started the second half looked more like the "last ten games" Terps. The Terrapins had a corner kick and two shots on goal at Webb in the first seven minutes of the half and were clearly the more aggressive squad for the first third of the period.
However, after that time, it was the Hoosiers who regained their "front footing." Indiana put Maryland's defense under great stress for several minute. The Terps tried to counter and a shot by Shinsky went wide. This led to the goal kick that led to an own goal that equalized the score in the 64th minute.
The game's final 24 minutes grew physical and testy as both squads looked to gain a late advantage. That would finally come courtesy of..
Mael to the rescue
The play started in the center of the field with David Kabelik taking control of a ball in space a Jeroen Meefout ran down the right side signlaing for a pass but careful to stay onside. Kabelik held the ball and delivered his pass to the spot Meefout had signaled just as the freshman cut toward the box. Indiana's Grant Lillard tripped Meefout at the circle leading to the direct free kick for the Terps.
Of the two earlier goals, Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski said, "Our goal was opportunistic, their goal was opportunistic." Of Corboz's score, he said, "For us to get the game winner on a spectacular goal by Mael makes you feel good because it was worthy of a championship winner today. It reminded me of Graham Zusi's goal in the 2008 semifinals."
Corboz said, "Right away when I saw Jeroen get fouled I went to get the ball and I told Tsubasa I wanted it. Originally I was going to go to the other side but I saw the goalie cheating a little bit and decided to switch sides. Luckily for me it went in." In truth, there was little luck about it. The ball was a perfectly struck top shelf shot toward the left post.
For those who haven't seen it, the video is available on Twitter:
Chris Odoi-Atsem, Mikey Ambrose, and Dan Metzger were named to the All-Tournament Team. Zack Steffen was the Defensive Player of the Tournament and Mael Corboz was named Offensive Player of the Tournament.
Maryland moves to the NCAA tournament at the automatic qualifier from the Big Ten.