Maryland men’s soccer hadn’t scored a first-half goal since Sept. 4 against Cal Poly, but after a disappointing draw Tuesday against UMBC, the Terps were motivated to show a sense of urgency in the first 45 minutes against Northwestern.
Sebastian Elney and Jake Rozhansky’s two goals were just two of 13 shots in the first half, giving the Terps a 2-0 lead heading into halftime. The Terps scored once more in the second half to remain unbeaten this season, beating the Wildcats 3-0.
The first 15 minutes looked familiar to recent matches, as Maryland controlled the possession and shot opportunities, but had no goals to show for it. Rozhansky and Amar Sejdic each had open looks on net early, but both strikes forced diving saves from Northwestern starting goalkeeper Robbie White.
The Wildcats entered the game with 11 first-half goals allowed, the most in the Big Ten. The Terps would continue the trend. Sejdic’s next shot from outside the box was saved again by White, but this time, Elney was there to rip a rebound into the net to give the Terps the lead in the 20th minute.
Rather than settling for just one first-half goal, the Terps continued to pressure the Wildcats. Substitute DJ Reeves toyed with a defender on the right side of the box, creating space for a pass into the box in the 39th minute. Rozhansky needed just one touch to double Maryland’s lead, quickly slotting a shot past the goalie for his third goal of the season. Rozhansky’s one-time finish gave the Terps multiple-goal first half for the first time since the season opener against Santa Clara.
The Maryland defense was rarely tested, as Northwestern’s one shot in the first 45 minutes sailed way over the frame. Dayne St. Clair didn’t have to make a save the entire half, and if it wasn’t for White’s eight saves in the first half, the Maryland halftime lead could’ve been much more.
The Terps’ energy carried over into the second half, as more threatening attacks earned a penalty just five minutes out of the break. Forward Gordon Wild had taken Maryland’s first two penalty kicks this season, but this time it was Sejdic who converted to give the Terps a 3-0 lead after 50 minutes.
Sejdic’s goal and assist were both his first of the season after a nine-goal, nine-assist sophomore campaign. George Campbell almost increased Maryland’s lead later in the half, but his shot clanked off the post.
The Terps were able to use a season-high 11 substitutes, emptying their bench late in the second half. Even with an entire team of substitutes entering the game, Northwestern was only able to manage one shot in the second half to increase their game total to two.
Maryland (7-0-3) now opens up a three-game road trip starting Monday against Connecticut (5-2-2) at 7 p.m. ET.
Three things to know
- The Terps came out fast. Maryland scored two first-half goals in the season opener against Santa Clara, but since then, the only two first-half goals by the Terps came on an own goal and a penalty kick. But after five games without a goal in the first 45 minutes, the Terps got two against the Wildcats. Rozhansky and Wild both scored their third goals of the season on one-time finishes inside the box.
- Amar Sejdic picked up his first points of the season. The junior had an extremely balanced nine-goal, nine-assist season as a sophomore, but through nine games this season, the junior didn’t have one of either. Rebounded goals count as assists for the person who initially shot it, so Elney’s score gave Sejdic his first assist of the year. In the second half after the Terps earned a penalty kick, the midfielder knocked in the opportunity for his first score.
- More Maryland shots were put on goal. On Tuesday against UMBC, only eight of Maryland’s 24 shots were on goal. Entering Friday night, only 45 percent of the Terps’ shots had been put on frame. The Terps were much more successful at finding the frame against the Wildcats, as 13 of their 17 shots were on goal. Maryland forced Northwestern’s goalkeeper to make double-digit saves, many of which were diving. Five different Terps had at least two shots on goal.