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Maryland men’s soccer vs. Wisconsin preview: Terps travel for last road match

It’ll be a rematch of the 2016 Big Ten Championship.

maryland men’s soccer

It’s been almost a week, but Maryland men’s soccer is back in action tomorrow night on the road against Wisconsin. It will be the Terps’ last away game before returning to College Park for their final four games of the regular season.

Maryland remained No. 3 in the United Soccer Coaches’ rankings after last week’s wins against Connecticut and Ohio State, while keeping its place atop the Big Ten standings, too. Michigan trails the Terps by just one point in the regular season standings.

Maryland beat Ohio State its last time out thanks to Sebastian Elney’s 85th-minute goal. The Terps will now face a Badgers’ team they beat twice last season, but is still unbeaten at home in 2017.

Maryland beat Wisconsin, in overtime at home in the regular season last year, and then beat them once more in the Big Ten Championship. Eryk Williamson, DJ Reeves and Sebastian Elney all scored against the Badgers last season.

The game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. and will be nationally televised on ESPNU.

Wisconsin Badgers (7-2-3, 3-1-1 Big Ten)

2016 Record: 11-4-4, 4-2-2 Big Ten

Head coach John Trask. Trask began his coaching career as an assistant at Indiana, helping lead the Hooisers to eight Big Ten titles and five College Cup appearances in nine years. After spending time as an assistant three MLS teams and as the head coach for the University of Illinois-Chicago, Trask became Wisconsin’s head coach in 2010.

Players to watch

Senior midfielder Chris Mueller, No. 10. He leads the Big Ten in goals (6), assists (10) and shots (51) this season. A four-year player, Mueller has 19 goals and 25 assists in his Wisconsin career. He’s the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, an honor he’s now won twice this season. Mueller managed three assists in two matches against Maryland last season.

Redshirt Junior defender Enda O’Neill, No. 4. The Colorado native has started every game for the Badgers both this season and last season, primarily on the backline. Aside from the goalie, he’s played the most minutes of any player on the team this season. O’Neill has helped bolster a defense that’s allowed just four goals in the last five matches.

Strength

The Badgers find ways to win at home. Wisconsin is 15-0-2 in Madison in the last two seasons. Its last loss at home was over two years ago on Oct. 7, 2015. It’ll be another tough road match for the Terps, who have continued to grind out wins and ties away from home this season. In seven home games, the Badgers have only conceded four goals while scoring 15. It’ll also be Senior Night for the Badgers against a top-three team in the country, which will produce another difficult road crowd and environment.

Weakness

No all-time wins versus the Terps. Maryland is 6-0 all-time against the Badgers, including two wins last season. Former defender Alex Crognale scored a pair of goals to send the game in overtime in the regular season, and then Eryk Williamson came through with the game-winning goal at home against the Badgers. The Terps went on to beat Wisconsin again the Big Ten Championship for a third-straight conference title. DJ Reeves and Sebastian Elney scored goals in the victory.

Three things to know

  1. Maryland is on its longest rest of the season. For the first time this season, the Terps are on a full week of rest in between matches. There was no midweek game scheduled after Friday night’s win against Ohio State, allowing for much-needed recovery following a tough stretch of matches. The break came at the perfect time, coming prior to Maryland going on the road for the last away game of the season. The Terps will end the season with four games at Ludwig Field, including three nonconference matches.
  2. It’s a redemption game for Wisconsin. The Badgers were in search of their first Big Ten title in 21 years when they last faced the Terps. In 1995, Wisconsin and Indiana were co-Big Ten champions and since then, the Badgers hadn’t been to a Big Ten Championship until last year. The Terps went up 1-0 less than two minutes into the title game last season, but Wisconsin responded just 10 minutes later. Maryland scored the last goal of the game just before the half, to take down the Badgers for the championship. That game will be fresh in the Badgers’ minds on Senior Night.
  3. Can the Terps finish their road schedule unbeaten? Someway, somehow, the Terps have gotten to this point unbeaten in another tough road schedule. They’ve gotten through difficult games with Michigan State, UMBC, Connecticut and Ohio State with a pair of wins and draws and took care of business against Santa Clara and Penn State. Maryland even got through a stretch of three road games in a 10-day stretch without suffering a loss. All that stands in the way of a second straight undefeated season on the road is the Badgers, which would continue quite a streak away from home.