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Maryland Men's Soccer Preview: Terps vs Navy

Maryland looks to get back in the win column as they welcome in-state rival Navy.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

If I could describe the last two games by this Maryland Men's Soccer team...I would use the word inauspicious. Maryland has had their moments, and when they're in top gear they are a superb team. The ball moves quickly, they get extra men on the wings to put balls in the box, and they create chances left and right. But in their 3-2 loss to Akron and scoreless draw in their Big Ten opener vs Michigan it took to long for them to hit top gear. Against Akron it was a pretty poor first 70 minutes before they turned it on and nearly grabbed a draw. In the Michigan match there were moments at different points, and eventually sustained pressure towards the end after they went down to 10 men, but nothing consistent. They have to get back to consistently creating high quality chances and moving the ball quickly. If they don't, it could be a very tricky match vs the Midshipmen.

Navy's a team that might hurt the Terps in a similar way that Akron did. They rank 32nd in shots on goal per game, with 6.75. But they've scored 1.6 goals per game and they're a team that tends to be clinical with their chances. They'll likely set up tentative, looking to pass the ball around the midfield and wait for a run in behind that maybe they could exploit. They're 37th in shots nationally. Being able to keep the ball away from Maryland could almost work as well as Michigan's strategy of being physical and pushing the Terrapin midfielders off the ball.

But when the opportunities to counter attack come, Maryland must take them. Jake Areman has a propensity for putting in some real quality balls, same with Diego Silva. That's one of the areas where the best Terps chances have come from. However, they'll need a stronger effort in the midfield and better service from deep areas from Mael Corboz and Tsubasa Endoh. Corboz has put in some good set piece efforts and Endoh has his wonderful assist vs UCLA for Sebastian Elney's winner, but one of the two, or anyone else who's involved in the attack, will probably have to move deeper for a bit to pick up the ball and try to find men in space.

Aubrey Jones is the Mids best player with three goals, but he's the only guy to have multiple goals for them. He's a pure finisher. Only six shots all season, three of them have found the back net. He's the type of guy the Terps D will have to stick close too and not allow much space. Give him some and he's likely going to score. Maryland's back line has sometimes had difficulty defending guys with pace and have gotten beat over the top, but they're generally very good man markers. That bodes when facing a forward like Jones. You have to always know where he is.

Shifting back the Maryland attack, one positive from the Michigan game was seeing some late runs into the box. Corboz did it a couple times, and had a nice headed chance on goal which was saved. Considering how good Maryland can be getting the ball out wide, overloading the wings, and creating chances, it makes sense to get a lot of men in the box. Having one midfielder drop deeper to spray passes, and also provide support to whoever occupies the DM spot at that particular moment, which struggled vs Michigan, while having an extra runner into the box could be very useful when there's loose balls in the box. The Terps often have had shots blocked or not been able to find a way through a tight defense. One extra man in the box could make all the difference.

Game time will be at 7 PM. Maryland is at home. You can watch via BTN2Go. And make sure to follow Maryland Men's Soccer on Twitter.