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Maryland men’s soccer vs. Rutgers preview

The Terps look for their first win since Aug. 27.

Photo by Mackenzie Miles/Maryland Terrapins

On Friday, Maryland men’s soccer finished its sixth consecutive game without a win, falling 2-0 to No. 16 Northwestern. Despite dominating possession and outshooting the Wildcats, 15-10, the Terps struggled to convert on their opportunities around the net, which included ringing multiple shots off the post.

The Terps will again have a chance to earn their first Big Ten victory of the season when they take on Rutgers on Tuesday.

The Scarlet Knights haven’t shown much to worry about this season, accumulating five losses. In its latest match, Rutgers suffered a 2-0 defeat against Ohio State, managing just two shots on goal to the Buckeyes’ 14.

Tuesday’s game will begin at 7 p.m and air on Big Ten Network.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-5-2, 0-2-1 Big Ten)

2022 record: 10-5-6 (4-2-2 Big Ten)

Jim McElderry is in his fifth season as the head coach of the Scarlet Knights. In 2022, he guided the program to its first Big Ten Tournament championship, achieving 10 wins— the most at Rutgers since 2015. Prior to his tenure at Rutgers, McElderry spent 16 seasons leading Fordham. During his time there, he propelled the program to its best NCAA Tournament finish, reaching the quarterfinals with a program-record 14 wins in 2017.

Players to watch

Matthew Acosta, junior midfielder, No. 16 — Acosta has twice been named a Big Ten Player to Watch, and he hasn’t disappointed in his time as a Scarlet Knight. In 2022, he led the team with 1,742 minutes played and scored two goals in the final month of the season. One of those came against Indiana in the Big Ten championship game. He has one goal and one assist this season.

Jason Bouregy, senior midfielder, No. 10 — Bouregy was an All-Big Ten selection last year. He had eight assists on the season, which ranked second in the conference.

Despite not finding the scoresheet yet in 2023, his tantalizing ability is still evident.

Joey Zalinsky, junior defender, No. 7 — Zalinsky is coming off an impressive sophomore season in which he started all 19 games for the Scarlet Knights. He remains a key cog on Rutgers’ defense this season, and has once again started each game.

Strength

Shooting. Rutgers has been ultra-aggressive offensively, peppering the cage with 141 shots through nine games. It leads the Big Ten with an average of 6.56 shots on goal per game.

Weakness

Defense. Simple as that. The Scarlet Knights have allowed a Big Ten-worst 17 goals this season, with a goals against average of 1.89. Their defense especially cost them in a 3-2 loss to Michigan.

Three things to watch

1. Can the Terps capitalize? Between the chances that the team has been generating as of late and the Scarlet Knights’ poor defense, the Terps have a great chance to put some goals on the board. Maryland has not scored in its past three contests, but this match presents as good an opportunity as any to finally cash in.

2. What will the formation look like? Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski has been open to new schemes all season long. In the Terps’ last match, he deployed a 4-4-2 formation, which brought about a significant amount of chances. It will be interesting to see if Cirovski continues to use this formation.

3. Will the lineup change? Defender Brian St. Martin replaced senior wingback Kento Abe last game, sparking the question of whether Cirovski will continue to change the lineup. Midfielder Kenny Quist-Therson and Max Riley have started occasionally, but aren’t every-game starters.

Cirovski has also chosen to bring in some of the team’s younger players as substitutes, rather than utilize veterans such as midfielder Justin Harris and forward Colin Griffith.