The Maryland men’s soccer team began its campaign as the nation’s top-ranked team by beating Michigan State, 2-0, Friday night at Ludwig Field.
Jake Rozhansky’s deflected effort from close range and an own goal from the No. 22 Spartans’ Michael Pimlott ensured the victory for the No. 1 Terps in the second half.
The Terps went into halftime leading 5-1 on shots, with two on goal, but didn’t score until the second half. They also lead 2-1 on corners.
Sebastian Elney started things off by dinging a close-ranger off the near post in the seventh minute. About a minute later, Jake Rozhansky cleverly dummied past a defender but struck his side-footed shot wide right. Amar Sejdic tried his luck from long-range in the 18th minute, only to sky the ball a few inches above the crossbar.
Controversy came 12 minutes before the halftime whistle. Sejdic, through on goal, had his initial shot blocked and followed up with a deft chip that was cleared off the goal line by Spartan defender Connor Corrigan. The referees stopped gameplay to review the footage, but the call stood due to inconclusive video evidence.
Maryland took the lead early in the second half, off some smart interplay between Chris Odoi-Atsem and Eryk Williamson and a little bit of luck from Rozhansky. Odoi-Atsem’s cross, met by Williamson, was shot directly at Rozhansky, where it bounced off his right leg into the goal.
Michigan State almost equalized when forward Ryan Sierakowski’s cross, intended for forward Giuseppe Barrone, bounced off the inside of the right post. The Terps responded with a flurry of shots. Michigan State goalkeeper Jimmy Hague denied all of them, stopping D.J. Reeves from point-blank range twice.
Maryland went up 2-0 off a Michigan State own goal from defender Michael Pimlott in the the 73rd minute. Rozhansky’s free-kick was met by Alex Crognale, who nudged it across goal for George Campbell. But before Campbell could get a touch on the ball, Pimlott had taken the ball over the line.
The Terps ended the match with 11 shots, nine on goal. Michigan State had five, three on goal. The Spartans led on corners, 5-4. Maryland goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier registered three saves, while Hague had seven for the Spartans.
Three things to know
- This was the Terps’ first regulation win since Labor Day. The past three games have been tiring, to say the least. Maryland eased to a comfortable 2-0 win in regulation tonight, and with the sheer number of minutes they’ve been playing recently, this’ll feel like a break.
- Diego Silva was absent. Sophomore Andrew Samuels got the start Friday, in place of regular starter Silva, and while the Terps didn’t take long to adjust, they’ll want their versatile wingback healthy come playoff time.
- This was our first glimpse of the NCAA’s video review ruling. Last April, the NCAA announced that video reviews would be allowed in college soccer starting with the 2016 season. The referees thought Sejdic’s shot required a second look, but the original call stood. You can read more about this ruling here.
Maryland continues their conference play next Friday, traveling to Evanston, Illinois to face Northwestern at 8 p.m.