After two straight draws on the road against No. 6 Michigan State and UMBC, the No. 3 Maryland men’s soccer team will return home to host Northwestern Friday night at Ludwig Field.
Both George Campbell and Donovan Pines were vocal about their disappointment with Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against in-state rival UMBC. Maryland managed 24 shots—including several strikes off the crossbar—but walked away with only a single goal by Pines, the first of his career.
The defense’s shutout streak ended at 567 minutes, but the Terps have a favorable matchup to start a new streak with the Wildcats, who have scored just six goals this season. They’re also 0-4 in conference play.
However, the Terps have had some trouble with Northwestern since joining the Big Ten. In both 2014 and 2015, Maryland suffered overtime losses against the Wildcats. In Evanston last year, though, Maryland cruised to a 4-0 victory behind three second-half goals.
All four goal-scorers from that matchup are still on the team: Gordon Wild, Amar Sejdic, Jake Rozhansky and George Campbell. It’ll be an enticing matchup at home for the Terps to regain their offensive mojo before hitting the road again for the next three matches.
It’s a doubleheader a Ludwig on Friday. The women’s team plays Wisconsin at 3 p.m. ET and then the men’s game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be streamed on BTN Plus and broadcasted by WMUC Sports.
Northwestern Wildcats (2-7, 0-4 Big Ten)
2016 record: 6-11-1, 3-4-1
Head coach Tim Lenahan. The Wildcats went winless in the 2000 season, and then Lenahan took over the following year. He’s become the winningest coach in Northwestern men’s soccer history in 17 years since then, including a 2011 Big Ten Tournament title.
Players to watch
Sophomore midfielder Sean Lynch, No. 18. After playing just five games as a freshman, Lynch has played in all nine matches this season. He leads the Wildcats with two goals, both scored in the last two games. He also has an assist on the road against Wisconsin.
Freshman defender Garrett Opperman, No. 4. He’s just a freshman, but he’s played in every minute of every game so far this season for the Wildcats’ backline. Even though he’s a defender, he’s tied for fourth on the team with six shots this season. Opperman was a four-year starter in high school, earning all-state honors his senior season.
Second-half offensive performances. The Wildcats have six goals in nine games this season, with five of those coming in the second half or overtime. They also have nearly 20 more shots in the second half than in the first. Northwestern was down 1-0 at the end of the first half against Valparaiso, but scored a goal in the second half and again in overtime for one of its two wins this season.
Putting together positive results. The Wildcats have just two wins this season, and none of them have come on the road. They’ve been outscored 9-2 Big Ten matches, losing all four of them so far. The Wildcats lost several goal-scorers from last season and have struggled to replace the production. Northwestern averages less than 10 shots per game, with only 38 percent of them being on target. They’ve also started three different goalies, which typically isn’t a good sign.
Three things to watch
- The Terps are back at home for one game. The Terps just finished a three-game road trip, beating against Penn State before tying No. 6 Michigan State and UMBC. Maryland only scored three goals in the three games, but only allowed one. Maryland will play Northwestern at Ludwig Friday night before playing on the road for another three games to complete a span of six road games in seven matches. After that, the Terps will end the season with four straight games at home.
- Will Maryland show an early sense of urgency? Head coach Sasho Cirovski noticed a sense of urgency in the second half against UMBC, outshooting the Retrievers 18-8 in the second half and overtime. Following a disappointing result, the Terps might come out more aggressively than the past few matches. The Terps haven’t scored a first-half goal since Sept. 4, but they’ll have a good chance Friday night; Northwestern has given up 11 of its 17 goals in the first 45 minutes of games this season.
- Can the Terps turn more shots into goals? Maryland has just one goal in its last 44 attempts, having trouble turning opportunities into goals. Fifty-one percent of the Terps’ shots were on target last season, but less than half have been on net this season. It’s another favorable matchup to boost the offense’s confidence before another stretch of road games, including a nonconference game against a UConn team that was ranked heading into the season.