After three very encouraging games to start the season, Maryland turned in a uneven performance vs Akron in a loss and a better, if still inconsistent performance in a draw vs Michigan. You were hoping that they could find some of that mojo again against Navy, which was their final home game for the month of September before three big road tests. The offense, which had looked up and down in their previous two games, was back at a very high level, and they got the win.
Chris Odoi-Atsem had two headed chances early in the game, including one that forced a save from Navy goalkeeper Jackson Morgan. The Terps attack was looking very sharp early, moving the ball much quicker than in their last two contests. They got a few corner kicks as well, but weren't able to turn those into efforts on goal.
A couple of subs came rather early in the game, before the 15 minute mark. Maryland brought in Michael Sauers for Eryk Williamson. Sauers, who had been a regular contributor over the last couple of years had been rarely seen in the opening games of the season.
Despite the energetic start, the game really slowed after the opening 10 minutes or so. It became more physical and cagey, as opposed to the open and free-flowing game that Maryland generally prefers.
Navy was making a lot of subs early, perhaps looking to keep their players fresh later in the game and to not wear down during any potential attacking onslaughts from the Terps.
Andrew Samuels had a shot go high with 29 minutes gone. It was only the 3rd shot of the game by either team. It did seem to spark the Terps though, and they created a couple more chances following. Sebastian Elney had an effort blocked, and Samuels went high with another shot. The best chance fell to Mael Corboz though, but he dragged his attempt wide when he probably should have scored.
While they weren't able to find the goal, Maryland was controlling possession and keeping Navy away from their eighteen yard box. In the first half the only Midshipmen chance was a header for Aubrey Jones with seven minutes left that went over the bar.
Despite seven shots, Maryland wasn't able to find the net in the first half and half-time the score was 0-0.
Maryland stormed out of block in the second half. They got two corner kicks early on, and Corboz put in two great deliveries. Tsubasa Endoh and Ivan Magalhaes both had headers that were saved by Jackson Morgan. Despite the pressure they put on the Midshipmen, they still weren't able to break through and Navy composed themselves around the hour mark before making a host of subs to keep men fresh.
Mael Corboz had another great opportunity with 65 minutes but it was saved yet again. Sebastian Elney had an effort not long after that would go high. With 24 minutes remaining the Terps were outshooting Navy 12-2 but could not find a way through. They came the closest to breaking through with 22 minutes remaining, when DJ Reeves chipped a ball over Morgan in the goal, but Navy cleared the ball off the line.
The pressure from the Terrapins continued late in the game. They were doing a lot of the things we saw from them earlier in the season; moving the ball quickly to put the Navy defense on their heels, and overloading the wings to put balls in the box. They forced a lot of corners from the latter, but unfortunately the corners could not come to anything.
Another Maryland surge occurred just past the 70 minute mark. Corboz, Amar Sejdic, and George Campbell all had shots in quick succession but weren't able to find any on goal. The Terps were in complete control in the second half but could just not put one past Morgan in the goal.
A multitude of corners continued to come and finally, with just seven minutes to go, one was put away. Alex Crognale got in between a defender and a fellow Terp, and deftly flicked the header into the net to put Maryland on top. It took 20 shots, eight corners, and an incredible amount of pressure...but finally the goal had come. 1-0 Terps.
Navy didn't muster anything during the final minutes and Maryland walked away with the win.
Final: Maryland 1-0 Navy
This is the classic case of a game where the scoreboard lied. Maryland was dominant all game long, particularly in the second half. They pinned Navy back, created chances from open play through the ground, off corners, through the air, in any way you can imagine. They were fantastic. It looked like it would all be for naught, but Alex Crognale managed to finally find the back of the net to give the Terps a deserved victory.
Maryland travels to East Lansing on Friday for their 2nd Big Ten conference game of the season.