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Maryland men’s soccer vs. Coastal Carolina preview

The Terps are back in action after a rare loss on Tuesday.

maryland men's soccer Gabe Fernandez | Testudo Times

With the weight of another undefeated regular season heading into the postseason off its shoulders, the Maryland men’s soccer team will be back in action on Friday against Coastal Carolina.

The Terps suffered their first regular season loss in almost two years on Tuesday against Georgetown, as the Hoyas’ 88th-minute goal was the decisive score in a 1-0 finish. George Campbell was unable to play because of a red-card suspension, but he will be available again Friday night. It is unclear whether Chase Gasper, who sat out with a groin injury, will be ready to play.

After a loss head coach Sasho Cirvoski believes his team needed, the Terps will shift their focus onto the Chanticleers. The two programs haven’t played since 2014 in College Park, a game in which Maryland won, 3-2. The only two current Terps who played in that match are Campbell and Emmanuel Korvah.

Coastal Carolina is coming off back-to-back wins, but they’ll be up against a Maryland team that hasn’t lost two straight games in over three years. It will also be the Terps’ last Friday night game at Ludwig Field in the regular season.

The game is scheduled to kick off 7 p.m. ET and can be streamed on BTN+ here.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (6-6-0, 1-1-0 Sun Belt)

Head coach Shaun Docking. 20 of his 22 years of head coaching have been with Coastal Carolina. Before the Chanticleers moved to the Sun Belt from the Big South, Docking led his team to seven conference championships and 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament. He is currently the winningest soccer coach in program history.

Players to know

Senior goalkeeper Braulio Linares-Ortiz, No. 1. Welcome home! Linares-Ortiz is a College Park native, so it’ll be a homecoming for the senior. He led his conference in shutouts and goals-against average last season, earning him All-Sun Belt second team honors. He has 43 saves in 12 games played this season.

Senior midfielder Martin Melchor, No. 20. He leads the Chanticleers in points, goals, shots and shots on goal this season. Melchor’s played in at least 14 games in each of his first three seasons, and now has 15 goals and eight assists in 66 career matches. He, too, was named an All-Sun Belt second team honoree last season.

Strength

Second-half production. Coastal Carolina has just as many shots as its opponents in the first half of its matches. But in the second 45 minutes, the Chanticleers have outshot their opponents by 32. The Terps have given up quite a few second-half goals recently, which could benefit a Coastal Carolina team that has scored 63 percent of its goals in the final period.

Weakness

Strength of schedule. Coastal Carolina has only played one currently ranked team: Georgetown. The Hoyas won the matchup 3-0, holding the Chanticleers to just two shots on goal, while recording 18 total shots. Coastal Carolina went 1-1 against teams that were ranked when it played them, but both UNC-Wilmington and Charlotte are no longer ranked by the United Soccer Coaches. They’re also 2-4 away from home this season, which will add to an already tough matchup in College Park.

Three things to watch

  1. How will the Terps bounce back from Tuesday’s loss? Cirvoski and midfielder Jake Rozhansky were vocal about using the Georgetown loss as a learning experience and that it might go a long way come the postseason. It’s been over two years since the Terps lost two straight, and given the motivation Rozhansky spoke about coming out Friday “very hot and fired up,” Coastal Carolina is in for a hungrier-than-ever Maryland team.
  2. Will Coastal’s goalkeeper play well in his return to College Park? The Terps have been on the wrong end of some incredible goalie performances so far this season. If returning to his hometown is a reason to play the best game of the season, then Linares-Ortiz will be on his game Friday night. “The Crew” will likely be well-aware he’s from College Park, so he’ll also be met with a rowdy crowd behind him.
  3. George Campbell is back, but Chase Gasper is an unknown. Senior defender George Campbell served his one game suspension after receiving a red card last Friday against Wisconsin, so he’ll be available again this weekend. Freshman Ben Di Rosa filled in and played well in his absence on Tuesday. Gasper’s status, though, is still up in the air. He suffered a groin injury against the Badgers, just playing 23 minutes before sitting out the rest of the game and again against Georgetown. If he’s not feeling absolutely 100 percent, don’t be surprised if he’s not rushed back to the field with the Big Ten Tournament looming.