Hofstra defender Sean Nealis attempted a clearance at the top of his 18-yard box in the fourth minute of Monday night’s matchup with Maryland, but when the ball left his foot it spun backward and right over his goalkeeper and into the Pride’s net.
You won't beat a top-10 team in the country on the road doing this.... pic.twitter.com/TXrGaQTjJ8— Joe Catapano (@JoeCatapano_) August 28, 2017
While the backline blunder was the only goal of the half between the two teams, Maryland dominated the run of play to defeat Hofstra for the second year in a row at home, 2-0. Gordon Wild netted his first goal of the year for the Terps in the second half.
The Terps didn’t record a goal of their own in the first half, but recorded four shots and generated the same number of corner kicks to put the pressure on the Pride. Maryland forward Sebastian Elney, who headed the ball toward the box just before the own goal, was responsible for creating several scoring opportunities. He had just one shot in the Terps’ first game of the season, but recorded four Monday night.
Maryland had a great chance to increase the one-goal lead to two midway through the first half, but Jake Rozhanksy’s shot was blocked by Hofstra goalkeeper Alex Ashton. The score would have been his third of the season already after scoring twice against Santa Clara.
Head coach Sasho Cirovski made just one change to his lineup from Friday night’s win over Santa Clara, starting sophomore Donovan Pines instead of Miles Stray. The Maryland defense didn’t allow a shot or corner kick in the opening 45 minutes. The backline looked much more comfortable Monday night compared to Friday, when it allowed two goals off set pieces while conceding several other dangerous plays. The Pride’s first shot came in the 55th minute.
Maryland retained most of the possession coming out of the halftime locker room as it tried to pull away in the second half. Elney and Wild both struck shots wide in early minutes of the half before the Terps ultimately doubled their lead.
Wild took a few stutter steps and then three strides forward, slotting a free kick into the left side of the net in the 58th minute to increase the lead to 2-0. The forward, who led the Big Ten with 17 goals last season, is on the board this fall.
The Pride showed the ability to get the ball in the Terrapins box late in the game, but couldn’t generate any real scoring chances to try to pull back.
No. 6 Maryland (2-0-0) plays in a highly-anticipated matchup with No. 21 UCLA Friday night at Ludwig Field. The Terps beat the Bruins in overtime two years ago in College Park before playing to a draw last season on the road.
Three things to know
- The Maryland backline played much better than Friday night. After allowing nine shots and four corner kicks Friday against Santa Clara, the Terps’ backline played much better as a unit. The Terps only allowed two shots the entire game. Cirovski played the same defenders for the entire 90 minutes, unlike the first game. Sophomore Miles Stray, who played 66 minutes on Friday, did not play against the Pride.
- Gordon Wild scored his first goal of the season. He scored 17 goals in 21 games last season, so it was only a matter of time before he scored his first goal this year. The MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List nominee had four shots, three of which were on goal, including his free-kick goal in the 58th minute. With a season of national recognition under his belt, opposing teams know he’s the go-to goal scorer, which has opened up more scoring opportunities for other players.
- Get to know the name Eric Matzelevich. The freshman from Washington, D.C., is one of two freshman who have seen the field so far this season, and he’s the only one who has seen significant playing time. While there’s too much talent in Wild and Elney for him to be a starter just yet, he’s been able to come in off the bench and play well while he gives the veterans some rest. He played 29 minutes Friday night and scored his first collegiate goal, and he played another 38 minutes on Monday.