Maryland men’s soccer didn’t win on Monday against Georgetown, but a draw on the road against a quality opponent is a positive result nonetheless.
Now 4-4-3 on the season, the Terrapins have shown bright spots that would make some believe that they are in fact better than their record would indicate. However, time is running out. Only five matches remain in the regular season, and the schedule is less than forgiving. Four Big Ten foes are looming, and the one non-conference opponent is the No. 3 team in the country, the Denver Pioneers.
First up in the final stretch of the season is No. 4 Indiana, which has been a force to be reckoned with over the past decade. Friday’s kickoff against the Hoosiers is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on BTN Plus.
No. 4 Indiana Hoosiers (10-2, 4-0 Big Ten)
2017 record: 18-1-6 (5-0-3 Big Ten)
Head coach Todd Yeagley is in his ninth season as the leader of the Hoosiers, although his Bloomington roots were established long before he was named the head coach. A four-time All-American for Indiana under his father in the early 1990s, Yeagley enjoyed a seven-year MLS career before coming back to assistant coach at his alma mater. Since taking the reins, Yeagley has brought the Hoosiers to eight consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including a runner-up finish in 2017 and a national championship in 2012.
Players to know
Senior defender Andrew Gutman, No. 15. The second-leading scorer from a year ago with 18 points, Gutman is on pace to break that career-high. He has paced the team with seven goals thus far and ranks second in assists with four, an incredible feat considering that he is a staple of the back line.
Sophomore goalkeeper Trey Muse, No. 1. A starter from the moment he walked on campus, Muse has had difficulty replicating his impressive freshman season. He led the nation with 18 shutouts, a 0.26 goals-against average, and a .903 save percentage, which earned him All-Big Ten second team honors, College Cup All-Tournament honors and a number of other accolades. This season, he ranks 24th in the country with a 0.68 goals-against average,
Offense. Indiana ranks 14th in the nation with 2.17 goals per game, and they’re even better within the Big Ten. The Hoosiers rank second, just narrowly trailing Michigan. But what separates Indiana from the rest is its passing: a figure of 2.58 assists per game ranks sixth among all teams, and the Hoosiers lead the conference by a wide margin in that respect.
None. This Indiana team does everything right. The attack is successful, as can be seen above. The defense allows just .655 goals per game, which places the unit at No. 14 in the nation. And if that wasn’t enough, the Hoosiers commit 8.25 fouls per game, good for second among all teams.
Three things to watch
1. Can Maryland hang around with a powerhouse? The toughest test the Terrapins have faced so far this season was against Michigan State a week ago, and they were outclassed en route to a 2-0 loss. Indiana is one of the best teams in the country and No. 1 in RPI, so the Hoosiers are a step above even that.
2. Which team strikes first? The Terrapins have scored first in just four of their 11 matches thus far, and outside of a late collapse against Wisconsin, taking the first lead of the game has been a winning formula for Maryland. On the road in Bloomington against the Hoosiers, that will certainly be a difficult task, but could they pull it off, the Terps may have a legitimate shot to pull of the upset.
3. Can the back line hold up? If it weren’t for the superb play of its defense, Maryland would be in a much different position at this point of the season. Indiana has been able to spread the wealth around on the attacking front thus far, as eight different players have scored goals. With nearly every player on the field being a substantial threat at any time, the Terps will have to keep track of every possibility.