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Maryland men's soccer starts long road with 1-1 extended first weekend

The Maryland men's soccer team opened the 2014 campaign with a tough loss at Louisville before returning to College Park to secure a high quality, hard fought win over Coastal Carolina.


Coming into the 2014 season, Maryland men's soccer fans had to know that, at least early on, the Terrapins were going to be offensively challenged. With the graduation of Patrick Mullins and Jake Pace and the departure of Schillo Tshuma to the professional ranks, the Terps had to replace more than 60 percent of their goals from the previous season.

Front line youth - a revolving door

One bit of fallout from Tshuma's early departure is that Maryland often has a very young front line on the field. Highly regarded freshman George Campbell has started both games for the Terps. Against Coastal Carolina Monday night, redshirt freshman Emmanuel Korvah joined him as a starting forward. Eric Carbajal and Jeroen Meefout are two other freshmen who have seen significant playing time in the first two games.

Fans should expect this rotation to continue particularly though the early part of the season. As Terrapins head coach Sasho Cirovski said after the home opener, "We're going to continue rotating (the forwards). It's early in the year. It's hot and we demand a lot of our forwards on both sides of the ball and we're going to keep doing that until we start getting all the players to have a better understanding with each other. Nothing replicates what you're trying to accomplish better than game experience and this is the sort of thing that will help them all."

The coach's approach in 2014 isn't unusual. In fact, it's quite similar to the pattern we saw him use in 2013. Working with a very young back line, Cirovski threw them into the fire with a difficult west coast trip against two quality opponents that saw the Terps come away with a loss and a tie while he also shuffled the starting lineup and frequently rotated players. For those with short memories, that approach landed Maryland in the NCAA championship game.

Depth, depth and more depth

Maryland entered the game against Coastal Carolina missing two experienced players who started against Louisville and who likely would have started or, at a minimum, seen considerable action against the Chanticleers - Alex Shinsky and Tsubasa Endoh. Endoh was unavailable because he received a red card at Louisville and Shinsky had a minor injury. Both are expected to be available for Friday's game against UMBC.

Speaking to the press after the game, Cirovski said, "I thought it was a good character win and a great team win because so many players contributed. We had a couple quality players out today and hopefully we'll have them back by Friday. I think our depth showed today. Coastal is a team that the last two years has made a deep run in the tournament and it looks like they're poised for another one."

Although we'cve focused on the general youth of Maryland's front line, the depth to which Cirovski referred is actually a mixture of youth and experience. "I thought that D.J. (sophomore Daniel Johnson) and (sophomore Michael) Sauers both did a good job. So did Micky (senior Mikias Eticha) and (freshman) Jake Areman both did a great job when they got in there. We wanted to push the game and I thought we had solid contributions from our forwards."

Citing the contributions from Sauers and Eticha was, perhaps a bit of an understatement by Maryland's coach. After having one blast carom off the corner of the goal, Sauers took a pass from Eticha and scored Maryland's second goal of the game on an arcing ball that midway through its flight, according to Sauers, morphed from a cross to a shot. "As an outside midfielder you always want to get in good positions," Sauers said. When you do, good stuff happens."

Eticha the scored what proved to be the game winning goal a bit over 11 minutes after getting the assist on Sauers' actual game winner. He controlled a short pass from Jereme Raley at the top of the box and quickly redirected it just inside the left post.

Transferring leadership

After only two games, the Terrapins are already reaping benefits from the transfer of junior midfielder Mael Corboz. Corboz, who came to Maryland from Rutgers, served a perfect ball off his corner kick in the eighth minute of the game against Coastal that Dan Metzger headed in to give the Terps the early lead. It was also Corboz who made the cross to Sauers on the shot that held the post. In assessing his play, Cirovski said, "Mael has a high soccer IQ and he's a very good player. The serve on Metzger's goal was fabulous. The long ball on Sauers' near goal was world class. He's a very pivotal guy for us already and I think you're going to see better stuff from him as the season progresses."

No Crew cuts

When the Terps traveled to Louisville for the Friday night season opener, they faced not only a quality Cardinals team but a standing room only crowd of over 7,000 to officially open Louisville's new $18 million soccer only stadium. When they returned to Ludwig Field, Maryland had neither the advantage of playing in a new stadium nor playing on a Friday night. Though they didn't quite match the Cards' 7,000, they did pack a crowd of 4,695 into Ludwig that included over 3,000 students many of whom are card carrying members (or would be if they had cards) of Maryland soccer's famous student support group - the Crew.

"Louisville obviously has a new stadium and a lot of fans there but it's nothing like the Crew is," Sauers said. "The Crew has our back through everything and there's nothing like it."

Cirovski had his own thoughts, "It's so humbling to see the support that we have. The student body today, especially the Crew and the new members of the Crew that came out tonight. It's a pleasure to see them again. Where else on a Monday night are you going to get almost 5,000 people and 3,000 students showing up. We have a special love affair with the students and I can't thank them enough. It means so much to me and the players to have them come out here and cheer on our team."

The Crew - and anyone else interested in attending - has their next chance to show their support for Coach Cirovski and his squad when fifteenth ranked UMBC comes to College Park for a 7:30 pm kickoff under the Friday night lights.