The Terps' 2015 season is off to a solid start after tying Notre Dame and pummeling St. John's in the Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Indiana last weekend.
As always, coach Sasho Cirovski likes to load his early-season schedule with tough out-of-conference opponents, and it doesn't get any tougher than the presesaon No. 1.
UCLA began its season with a 1-0 victory over unranked New Mexico. Freshman defender Malcolm Jones scored the game's lone goal five minutes into the match. The Bruins outshot the Lobos 15-8 and withstood a late charge from New Mexico to take home the win.
The Bruins are looking to replace 2014 Mac Hermann Trophy winner Leo Stolz, but they have several talented players ready to take up the mantle.
Players to know:
Michael Amick, defense- The junior was named to the preseason Mac Hermann Trophy watch list, and played a big role in the team's eight shutouts as a first-team All PAC-12 player last season.
Larry Ndjock, forward- The senior led all returning UCLA players in goals scored last year, and figures to assume the position as top dog on offense this season.
Abu Danladi forward- Adekoya will be one of the players tasked with making up for some of the offense lost by Stolz's departure. He was Top Drawer Soccer's Freshman of the Year in 2014, and could emerge as one of the conference's top players this season.
Forwards: the team is returning all but one of its starting forwards from last year in Danladi, Ndjock and Seyi Adekoya scored a large portion of the team's goals last year, and will be threats to do so again this season.
Defense- The team is returning redshirt senior defender Edgar Contreras and senior midfielder Grady Howe, both of whom are captains this season. Add Malcolm Jones to that mix, and you have a standout defense.
The midfielders are pretty good too. This is the No. 1 team in the nation. They're good at pretty much everything.
Youth- with 15 freshmen, the Bruins brought in an even bigger class than the Terps did this season. Trying to integrate a baker's dozen of new players into a roster of 35 is tough task, although its made easier when you have players like Jones, a former five-star recruits.
Who's in goal? Juan Cervantes started the opener. The redshirt junior played in five games as a true freshman and started four before sitting out the last two seasons while Earl Edwards Jr. played at an extremely high level before graduating and getting drafted by Orlando City in the MLS SuperDraft. The team has four goalkeepers on its roster and the other three are freshmen, so this season is Cervantes's big chance to make his mark on the program.