After a disappointing 1-0 loss at Louisville to open the 2014 season the Maryland men's soccer team returned to the comfortable confines of Ludwig Field and, in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd of 4,695 that included over 3,000 students, captured a 3-2 win over the seventeenth ranked Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
The teams battled in the midfield for the first five minutes or so before Coastal earned the game's first corner kick in the sixth minute. However the serve by Ricky Garbanzo curved harmlessly over the back line. Next it quickly became Maryland's turn as the Terps picked up a corner of their own in the eighth minute. The serve from the left side off the foot of Rutgers transfer Mael Corboz was anything but harmless. In fact it was just the opposite. The junior couldn't have played a more perfect ball if he had walked it to Dan Metzger's head. The senior rewarded his teammate with a header that flew cleanly past goalkeeper Devi Cook-Perales and the Terps had their first goal of the young season and an early 1-0 lead.
Following the Maryland goal, Coastal had the better of the run of play for long stretches of the half. Though they had difficulty effectively penetrating the Terrapins' defense, the Terps had equal difficulty clearing the ball out of their defensive half. The Chanticleers managed three shots but only one on goal - a shot along the ground from about 30 yards that didn't challenge Terrapins' goalkeeper Zack Steffen who easily gathered it in.
Maryland was finally able to the pressure a bit in the closing minutes of the session. The Terps managed their second and third shots in the final five minutes of the half but neither was particularly challenging for the Chanticleer's goalkeeper. The half ended with Maryland holding the 1-0 lead.
The first five minutes of the second half belonged exclusively to the Terrapins. Maryland's first opportunity came in the forty-eighth minute when Michael Sauers took a long cross out of the air and launched a rocket off his left foot that hit the corner of the goal. A deep foul on Coastal in the fiftieth minute gave the Terps a free kick opportunity from about 25 yards. The play generated some confusion in the box but not enough to create a scoring opportunity and they pushed the ball wide of goal.
The Chanticleers survived the opening onslaught and as they had in the first half began to turn the pressure around. They picked up a corner kick in the fifty-third minute and broke though to tie the score after a Maryland penalty. Elis Bjornsson delivered a centering pass from thirty yards out along the right sideline and Bryce Follensbee drove the header past Steffen.
Maryland needed less than three minutes to regain the lead. In something of a now you see it, now you don't moment, sophomore Michael Sauers picked up his first goal of the season. After taking a cross from Mikias Eticha, he launched a high perfectly arcing strike from about 30 yards that surprised everyone including himself and Cook-Perales who saw the ball drop over his outstretched arm.
The home team's pressure continued with the Terps creating a chance and getting a good look for Eric Carbajal but his shot went wide. The third goal fell to the combined feet of Jereme Raley and Mikias Eticha. The build-up came after a brilliant diving save by Steffen on a low drive from about 30 yards. The Terrrpains' keeper punched the ball out and eventually had his defense clear.
Maryland built their attack up the right side with the ball crossing to Raley at the top of the box. The redshirt senior quickly punched the ball left to Eticha who turned quickly and squeezed the ball inside the near post. The Terps had extend the lead to two with about 29 minutes to play.
However, the Chanticleers weren't done and Maryland wasn't out of danger. Follensbee picked up his second of the game in the eightieth minute. He took a pass from Sergio Camargo and chipped it in from about eight yards. Coastal continued their pressure after the Terps picked up an offside call in the eighty-second minute. Steffen made another spectacular save on a shot from Follensbee that Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski called "world class" and Coastal picked up three consecutive corner kicks with about five minutes to play but the Terps defense held strong.
Maryland made one final late rush but Coastal's defense collapsed in the middle blocked both shots near the top of the box. The Terps held on and closed out the final minutes coming away with a hard earned 3-2 win over a high quality opponent.
Maryland returns to action Friday night with their third straight game against a ranked opponent when number 15 UMBC visits Ludwig Field. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30.