The Maryland men’s soccer team ended its regular season with another double-overtime thriller, beating Michigan 3-2 in Ann Arbor to complete the program’s first undefeated regular season since 1968.
Senior defender Suli Dainkeh scored the game-winning goal, the first goal of his career, in the 109th minute to cap off the Terps’ comeback.
Maryland was playing without key contributors Sebastian Elney, Eryk Williamson, and D.J. Reeves, all of whom were out with food poisoning. Emmanuel Korvah, Keegan Kelly, and George Campbell started in their place. Amar Sejdic didn’t play either, as he was out with a muscle injury.
Michigan went up early in the first half, with goals coming from Robbie Mertz and Jack Hallahan, but in typical fashion, the No. 1 Terps battled back from a two-goal deficit to keep the game alive and send it to overtime.
Gordon Wild, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, pulled one back for the Terps in the 66th minute after a handball was called in the box. He calmly placed a penalty shot in the bottom left corner for his 15th goal of the season.
After trailing for almost the entire game, Maryland equalized with just 62 seconds left in regulation. Chris Odoi-Atsem scored off Wild’s grounded cross from the left wing. The fullback’s shot was flicked up, and dinged in off the crossbar.
Maryland looked to be heading towards its third tie this season when Cody Albrecht lofted a cross towards the box. Dainkeh picked up the pass and laid it off to Wild, whose scuffed shot landed back in front of Dainkeh. The senior’s left-footed shot eased past Wolverines goalkeeper Evan Louro, who was caught out of position.
The Wolverines got off to a flying start, scoring their first goal only six minutes past kickoff. Sophomore midfielder Robbie Mertz began the scoring after capitalizing on a clean rebound from Francis Atuahene’s blocked shot.
Jack Hallahan doubled Michigan’s lead in the 25th minute. Atuahene set him up on the right wing, and the freshman forward blew through traffic and curled the ball into the lower left corner. This was the first time the Terps had trailed by more than one goal all season.
Sejdic, a strong candidate for Big Ten Midfielder of the Year, was sorely missed from the lineup. Cirovski stated Tuesday that he was concerned about some players’ fitness levels with a long and grueling postseason coming up, so it’s possible he rested Sejdic for that reason. The Terps seemed to lack creativity in midfield without the sophomore pulling strings in the middle.
The Terps finished the game with an astounding 27 shots, 15 on goal, to Michigan’s nine, while Maryland goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier failed to register a save on the day.
Next up is the Big Ten Tournament. Maryland will come in as the No. 1 seed, and will get to host its first game in College Park.