It all started in the 12th minute with Sebastian Elney’s back heel set Gordon Wild free down the right flank. Then, the Germany native cut in past two defenders, took a breath, and released a low shot to beat Ohio State goalkeeper Parker Siegfried.
The goal was Wild’s 10th in his first season as a Terp, which leads the Big Ten, and it started Maryland on the right foot as the Terps went on to defeat the Buckeyes 2-0 on Friday.
The combination of Elney and Wild has become a lethal one for Maryland.
“We’re here all summer working out, playing pickup with each other trying to build that chemistry that can really show in the games,” redshirt senior goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier told reporters after the win. “First game, you come out and they’re still building that relationship, and I think we are starting to see it blossom. In the home stretch, I’d love to see them get better and better.”
Elney made it 2-0 for the Terps shortly after Wild’s goal. Last year, Elney led the Terps with 7 goals, but Friday night’s belter from the edge of the box was only his second score of the season.
That means little to Elney, though. He’s still saying all the right things.
“Just contributing in different ways, and doing whatever I can to help my team win is most important,” he said. That contribution can be seen in his creativity around the attacking zone, setting up his teammates.
Elney had two total assists the year before, but halfway through the regular season, he’s second in the Big Ten with four assists, behind only teammate D.J. Reeves, who has five.
Elney finds, especially with the addition of another attacker like Wild, he can drop off into the midfield and find space to either distribute, or attack from, as he did when the loose ball fell to him last night.
“We worked on some forward combinations this week. I talked to [Elney and Wild] right before the game about their relationship and space distribution and I thought they were both really good tonight,” coach Sasho Cirovski said. “It was good to see them play at that level, and we hope they can sustain it for longer periods of times.
“I thought they managed the space up front very well, and they got rewarded. [Elney] has been really working hard, he’s been a little snake bit at times this year, and it was great for him to get a goal and an assist tonight.”