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Maryland men’s soccer beats Cal Poly, 1-0, behind Gordon Wild’s penalty kick

The Terps remain unbeaten heading into Friday’s Big Ten opener against Indiana.

Matthew Regan

For the second consecutive game, Maryland men’s soccer forward Gordon Wild put the Terps on the board first with a penalty kick. In the 26th minute of Monday night’s game against Cal Poly, Wild overmatched the Mustangs’ goalkeeper to make it 1-0.

Wild opened the scoring Friday night against No. 16 UCLA as well, but the Bruins tied the game twice before the Terps won, 3-2, in overtime. This time, the Terps held onto the lead given to them by their junior striker, beating Cal Poly 1-0 to stay undefeated this season.

Head coach Sasho Cirovski said his team had “heavy legs” at times in its win on Friday, saying he put his players in a tough spot by scheduling a game the Monday before a home opener against a ranked opponent. The already-fatigued Terps played into overtime, so Monday’s game was a great opportunity to rest players before this weekend’s game against No. 7 Indiana in the Big Ten opener.

Normal starting defenders Johannes Bergmann and George Campbell didn’t play in the first 45 minutes against the Mustangs, while forward Sebastian Elney only played 13 minutes off the bench in the first half. Midfielder Andrew Samuels didn’t play for precautionary reasons after leaving Friday’s game with a head injury.

Freshman Eric Matzelevich, who entered Monday with two goals this season, made the first start of his career. He created an early scoring chance after laying off a pass to Jake Rozhansky, but the shot sailed over the net. Later in the first half, Rozhansky crossed the ball over the Cal Poly defenders and onto the foot of Matzelevich, but his shot was saved.

The Terps held the possession, but were unable to generate many goals. Midfielder DJ Reeves was tripped in the box in the 26th minute, leading to Maryland’s penalty kick, which Wild hammered home for the night’s only score.

After holding the Mustangs scoreless through the first half, the Terps’ backline got even stronger as the game progressed. Cal Poly only got off two shots in the first 45 minutes and then didn’t have one for most of the second half. The Mustangs threatened to tie the game off a corner in the 84th minute, but their first shot of the half was struck into the side of the net.

Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair picked up his second shutout of the season, but didn’t even have to make a save. He’s now allowed just four goals in four games after sitting out last season.

Maryland had 14 shots, but only scored one goal on the early penalty kick. It marks the first time this season the Terps have been held under two goals.

No. 6 Maryland (4-0) returns to action this Friday night at home against No. 7 Indiana (4-0) in the Big Ten opener. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.

Three things to know

  1. Two freshman received their first career starts. Sasho Cirovski gave Eric Matzelevich and Ben Di Rosa their first starts as Terrapins. Matzelevich has had the most success of any freshman so far this season, scoring goals against Santa Clara and UCLA. He played 73 minutes against the Mustangs. Di Rosa only played in 17 minutes of the first three games, but played all 45 minutes in the first half Monday night.
  2. George Campbell and Johannes Bergmann got much-needed rest. Bergmann and Campbell played in an average of 89 and 87 minutes per game, respectively, through the first three matches. This includes a very physical game Friday night against No. 16 UCLA. With another big game this weekend against No. 7 Indiana, the two defenders got a lot of rest Monday. Neither played in the first half, but played the entire second half.
  3. The Terps are undefeated heading into Big Ten play. Maryland is now 4-0 this season heading into its Big Ten opener on Friday against No. 7 Indiana. The game is in College Park, so Ludwig Field will witness a highly-anticipated matchup between two ranked teams for the second weekend in a row. Indiana is one of the three Big Ten teams currently ranked in the top 25, joining Maryland and Michigan State. The Terps and Hoosiers have played to draws in their last two meetings.