In its final home game of the season, the Maryland men’s soccer team came from behind to beat Delaware, 3-2, in another double-overtime thriller Monday night at Ludwig Field.
Gordon Wild, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, scored his 12th, 13th, and 14th goals of the season and completed his first hat trick as a Terp with his game-winning header in the second overtime. After skying his penalty over the bar in the 106th minute, Wild dug deep to come back and score the winner a minute later.
With Wild pointing forward for the cross, Jake Rozhansky found Eryk Williamson on the left edge of the penalty area; Williamson threw off his defender with a little bit of hesitation before chipping the ball for Wild, who just about diverted it towards goal.
Wild began the scoring for the No. 1 Terps (14-0-2, 6-0-1 Big Ten) just four minutes in. After some great interplay and audacious back-heels in Delaware’s penalty box, the German-born forward ran into space to meet the ball and tuck it past goalkeeper Todd Morton. It looked like the Blue Hens had briefly regained possession of the ball, but Wild nicked it from defender Carlos Perales before finessing a left-footed shot into the top left corner of the net. The assist was given to Amar Sejdic, his conference-best ninth of the season.
Senior forward Guillermo Delgado responded in the 23rd minute to tie the game up at one, with a header at the far post to beat Terps goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier. During the build-up, Perales ran forward on the overlap and his early cross caught Maryland’s backline off guard.
George Campbell had the chance to equalize right at the end of the first half, when D.J. Reeves went down in the box but failed to convert from the spot. The Terps went into the half on the back foot, having started the game dictating play but eventually being worn down by an obstinate Delaware defense.
“We once again found the resilience to come back when things got tough, and the mental strength to put in the game-winner” said Cirovski. “But make no mistake, we are a tired team. We keep taking everyone’s best shot.”
Much like the Wisconsin game two Fridays ago, Maryland was hurt by a well-executed counter attack late in the game. Delgado finished off a beautiful solo run in the 73rd minute with a put-back goal to double the Blue Hens’ tally. However, it didn’t last long as Wild scored his second minutes later to level the scoreline.
While it was Gordon’s finish that propelled Maryland back into the game, it was Chris Odoi-Atsem’s run to the right flank that made it all possible. The fullback, returning from a concussion that kept him out against Hofstra, whizzed a grounded cross towards Wild, who was able to deflect the ball in past Morton.
“I don’t know, somehow, we always find a way,” said Wild. “Odoi-Atsem played me a great pass today, I just sort of had to tap it in.”
Senior skipper Alex Crognale was sorely missed tonight, with Donovan Pines lining up at the right center-back position. The Terps were often caught out of position, having to double team some of Delaware’s better players.
“Delaware counters probably as well as any team in the nation, particularly with Delgado” said Cirovski. “His runs are terrific, and he’s technically astute on the ball. I think you have to give full credit, but when you don’t have one of the best center-backs in the country playing against one of the best forwards in the country, you’re going to get exposed.”
The match ended with Maryland leading on shots, 15-9, with seven of those shots on goal to Delaware’s five. Niedermeier posted three saves tonight, while this was the Terp’s fourth game in a row without a clean sheet, after tying the school record with five straight shutouts.
Maryland will travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan in their final regular season game of the season at 1 p.m. this Sunday. The match will be broadcast on BTN.