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Maryland Men's Soccer: Terps fall to Michigan State in Big Ten home opener

After coming away with a draw on the road vs Michigan in their Big Ten opener, the Terps returned home to face Michigan State but lost 1-0

After making a decent, if unspectacular start to life in the Big Ten with a 1-1 draw away to Michigan, the Terps looked to get their first win in conference play vs a nationally ranked Michigan State team. Maryland has put together some indifferent displays to start this season, not ever able to really piece it all together. They performed well tonight, but on a familiar note so far, weren't clinical enough, and fell to the Spartans 1-0.

First Half

The game started off physical and rather chippy, with multiple fouls called in the early going. The first real chance of the game came 8 and 1/2 minutes in, and it fell to Michigan State, with Jason Stacy putting the Spartans ahead 1-0. It continued to be rather physical and cagey, a familiar theme of the first half in Maryland's games this year. With the attack not able to muster anything significant, Sasho Cirovski made his first change 19 minutes in, bringing on David Kabelik, the man who equalized for the Terps vs Michigan last week. Sparty continued to get the better of things, but the Terps were playing an effective high line, forcing them offsides on quite a few occasions.

Maryland worked themselves into the game after the half hour mark, with Mikias Eticha and Tsubasa Endoh both getting chances. After the latter's shot was blocked, which resulted in a corner, the Terps got their best chance of the game with a header from Alex Crognale. Luck was not on his side however, with the header hitting the post. The pressure continued from Maryland, but they weren't able to find a breakthrough. At half-time, Michigan State led 1-0.

Second Half

Energized by there surge in the final 15 minutes of the first half, the Terps starting get more of the ball and looking more comfortable on it. They've seemed to get better as games have gone along and as they've gotten into a groove in the second half, and that was the same tonight. Mikias Eticha had a chance early in the first half, but wasn't able to get it on target. Maryland kept up the pressure and Tsubasa Endoh tested Spartans goalie Zach Bennett with the Terps 2nd shot on goal.

While Maryland's attack may have been rather disappointing, their play in midfield and in defense was very solid, hardly giving Michigan State any sight of goal. At the hour mark, Cirovski decided to bring on Mael Corboz, and that seemed to give the Terps an added spark. Tsubasa Endoh had another effort saved by Bennett, and Endoh was turning in one of the performances that's been expected of him. Over the next 10 or so minutes however, the Spartans put together their best spell of the game, creating a few half chances, and controlling the play which helped take the sting out of the contest. Maryland never really grew back into the game, and a last ditch Mikey Ambrose header was blocked.

Final Score: Michigan State 1-0 Maryland

If you looked strictly at the stat sheet, Maryland controlled the game. 8 shots to just 2 for Michigan State, 5 corners to 1. However Bennett only had to make 2 saves. A familiar issue for Maryland so far has been turning their possession and control of the game into clear cut chances on the goalkeeper. They've done that in patches, but not consistently, and that's what cost them tonight. They fall to 1-3-1 on the year, 0-1-1 in Big Ten play, and 1-1-1 at home. They're at home again vs Dayton on Monday, before welcoming Wisconsin to town next Friday night.