Maryland men's soccer seemed to have the wind taken out of its sails in the second half after giving up a game-tying goal in the 80th minute, but the Terps squeezed out an incredible golden-goal victory over No. 1 UCLA in their home opener on Friday.
In the sixth minute of overtime, freshman forward Sebastian Elney headed in a cross from Tsubasa Endoh to give the Terps the walk-off win and tally his first career home goal.
Check out Elney's game-winning goal over No. 1 UCLA! #FearTheTurtle http://t.co/1aNdncz9Yv— Maryland Soccer (@MarylandMSoccer) September 5, 2015
It seemed like the Terps wouldn't need overtime to dispatch the Bruins when they took a 1-0 lead in the second half.
After Chris Odoi-Atsem drew a handball in the box in the 67th minute, Mael Corboz nailed the penalty shot past UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes into the bottom left corner of the net to give Maryland the lead.
A look at the hand ball and Corboz's penalty kick https://t.co/nKfYR5cVS9— Ryan Baillargeon (@RyanBaillargeon) September 5, 2015
But in the 80th minute, UCLA's Abu Danladi hammered a beautiful shot past Maryland goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier into the back of the net to tie the game. The shot, which happend so quickly after a few saves by Maryland goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier that the Big Ten Network cameras didn't even capture the goal, quieted a racous Maryland crowd that had been giving UCLA the business all night.
The teams played the majority of the scoreless first half on UCLA's end of the field, with the Terps jumping out to a 7-0 shots advantage after 20 minutes and an 11-3 lead in that department at halftime. The team's freshmen, four of whom were in the starting lineup, impressed from the very beginning of the game.
Elney was a standout once again in the first half, showing off his crazy speed with an impressive run down the right sideline in the middle of the first half. The freshman continues to impress early in his Maryland career, and could become a household name among Maryland fans very quickly.
Fellow freshman forward Eryk Williamson took the first two shots of the game in the first and third minutes providing a lot of energy for the team early, but he really got everyone's attention later in the first half.
The team's 11 freshmen are a hot topic of discussion in the young season, and this was their first time playing in front of the racous Maryland crowd.
"This is what they came for," Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski said. "I thought they handled [the pressure] beatifully. I thought the first 30 minutes of this game is when you're worried about their anxiety and their nervousness, and we came out flying. I thought they were great."
Williamson was the source of some fireworks in the 23rd minute when he collided spectacularly with UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes while going for a ball from Jake Areman. Both players were down for a couple minutes after the play, and the collision marked the end of the day for Williamson, while Cervantes stayed in the game.
Here's a look at the collision:
Scary collision between UCLA goalie and Eryk Williamson https://t.co/3S8laoIQe7— Ryan Baillargeon (@RyanBaillargeon) September 4, 2015
After an exciting start to the first half, the Terrapins hit a lull to start the second half, especially for Maryland's offense. The team didn't register a shot until Jake Areman's strike almost 30 minuts into the game, but Corboz made sure his shot counted. Cirovski chalked up that slugglish second half start to fatigue and a change in strategy.
"We switched our formation a bit, to defend the one-goal lead, and it didn't work," Cirovski said. "We hadn't really trained it, to be fair. We just drew it on the board. Preseason is so short in college soccer. It's hard to train "goal up, goal down, man up , man down" situations, all these things, so we just went out there and talked about it and tried to do it, and I think we didn't execute some of the roles."
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier turned in a solid performance in his first home start and only the second start of his career. He started the team's season-opener against Notre Dame before giving way to Dayne St. Clair in the team's second game against St. John's. He made six saves Friday night while letting in the one goal, the first he's allowed in his college career.