Despite numerous game-winning goal opportunities for both sides, No. 3 Maryland men’s soccer played to a scoreless draw on the road against No. 6 Michigan State. Both teams remained unbeaten this season.
Maryland’s defense entered the game on a 397-minute shutout streak, while the Spartans had only allowed one goal in their first seven games of the season. A defensive chess match was anticipated, but the scoring opportunities were anything but sparse.
Maryland controlled possession in the attacking third right from the opening kickoff. Just three minutes in, forward Gordon Wild was fouled just outside the box, setting up a dangerous free kick on his dominant left foot. His strike, however, deflected off the Spartans’ defensive wall and out for a corner.
Minutes later, Eryk Williamson—who had both a goal and an assist Sunday against Penn State—struck a ball off the post and out for a second Terps corner in the first six minutes of the game. The cross into the box found defender Donovan Pines’ head, but missed the mark.
A near connection from Chase Gasper to Wild close in front of the net nearly resulted in a goal, but would’ve been called back for offside anyway, capping off a fast 10-minute start for Maryland.
Even though the Terps outshot the Spartans, 9-3, in the first 45 minutes, Michigan State had its chances, too. The Spartans’ leading goal-scorer, DeJuan Jones, broke away from Gasper and Johannes Bergmann inside the box to set up an open shot, but Pines redirected the ball out of bounds for a corner instead of a shot on goal.
Gasper played well offensively on the left side of the pitch, generating several threatening passes in front of net. But in the 24th minute, one of his passes in the defending third was intercepted in the middle of the field. But Jones’ touch in front of goal was too heavy, allowing Dayne St. Clair to cover up the ball before a shot on net.
The scoring chances for both teams slowed down in the last 15 minutes of the half, and the Terps went into halftime tied 0-0 for the fourth straight game.
After scoreless first halves in their last two matches against Rutgers and Penn State, the Terps scored within the first 10 minutes of the second half in each contest. That wouldn’t happen against the Spartans.
Unlike the scoreless draw with Indiana earlier this season—a game in which Maryland had no shots on goal in seven attempts—the Terps managed 17 shots in regulation, but with nothing to show for it.
The Terps’ closest chance of the second half came on Wild’s diving attempt in front of net set up by a Williamson cross into the box. The crossed forced Hague to make a save and the rebound allowed for an almost-game-winner from Wild.
Absolutely ridiculous save by Jimmy Hague to keep the Terps off the board. pic.twitter.com/aUB9fqwkKX— Joe Catapano (@JoeCatapano_) September 23, 2017
Moments later, Ryan Sierakowski had a one-on-one scoring chance against St. Clair, but the Terps’ goalie made a sliding tackle to thwart a go-ahead opportunity and to match the play of his counterpart.
The goalkeeper matchup between Hague and St. Clair is heating up. We're still tied with 20 minutes left. pic.twitter.com/kAKo35o4e8— Joe Catapano (@JoeCatapano_) September 23, 2017
While Maryland controlled most of the first half, the Spartans had chances to hand the Terps their first loss of the season in front of a record-setting crowd in East Lansing. The backline was tested heavily, and St. Clair was forced to punch away many dangerous crosses. Six-foot-five Donovan Pines won several headers in the box in both overtimes to keep the Spartans scoreless.
Michigan State was coming off an overtime victory against in-state rival Michigan, but wasn’t able to repeat the result against the Terps. Maryland, playing in its third overtime match of the season, also couldn’t find the back of the net.
Despite dealing with more pressure defensively, Maryland has held its opponents scoreless for a fifth straight match. The Terps haven’t given up a goal since Sept. 1 against UCLA.
No. 3 Maryland (6-0-2) returns to action on the road against UMBC Tuesday at 7 p.m ET.
Three things to know
- George Campbell did not play. The senior defender suited up, appeared to warm up on the sideline prior to the match, but didn’t end up playing against Michigan State with a hamstring injury. Freshman Ben Di Rosa stepped up and filled in at right back for most of the game. Typical forward Emmanuel Korvah also spent time on defense to fill the void of their missing captain, helping keep the Spartans off the board.
- The midfield play was great. The combination passes from Sejdic, Williamson and Rozhansky led to many of Maryland’s scoring opportunities. Williamson was coming off a one-goal, one-assist performance against Penn State, and he nearly scored six minutes in. His shot off the post preceded a smirk from the midfielder, knowing he had almost scored early against a team that had allowed just one goal in its first seven games.
- Maryland’s shutout streak is now over 500 minutes. It didn’t always look like it would last Friday night, but the shutout streak continues. The Terps now haven’t given up a goal in exactly three weeks. It sounds like a lot of time in minutes, but how about eight hours and 27 minutes? Yeah, that’s how much game time has elapsed since the last goal scored on Maryland.