Time is running out in the Maryland men’s soccer team’s season, and entering Tuesday night’s game against the No. 7-ranked Denver Pioneers, a signature win was nowhere to be found on the Terrapins’ tournament resume.
Defending Andre Shinyashiki, the nation’s leading goal-scorer, is an unenviable task for even the best of teams, and head coach Sasho Cirovski knew that containing him was crucial to the Terps’ chances of pulling off the upset.
“We wanted to make sure our two defensive midfielders, Eli and Andrew, knew where he was over their shoulder,” Cirovski said. “We also wanted to make sure we had what I call a plus-one, we needed to have an extra guy around him.”
The back line did its job, holding Shinyashiki to just two shots in a scoreless outing for the senior forward. And in keeping the Pioneers off the scoreboard entirely, Maryland’s defense did its job to allow the offense to win the match. Paul Bin’s header off a free-kick assist by Chase Gasper in the fifth minute was the eventual game-winning goal the Terrapins so desperately needed.
“I kind of blacked out for that,” Bin said about scoring the goal. “Chase whipped in a great ball, and somehow, I got my head on it. I usually don’t score headers, so it was kind of an odd feeling.”
With just three matches remaining on the regular season schedule, the Terps (5-5-3) can’t afford to have any missteps the rest of the way. On Friday night, they’ll play Ohio State, which has been one of the worst teams in the country so far this season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and can be seen on BTN Plus.
Ohio State Buckeyes (1-11-2, 0-4-1 Big Ten)
2017 record: 8-10-1 (4-5)
Head coach Brian Maisonneuve is in his debut season with Ohio State, following in the footsteps of longtime coach John Bluem, who retired after 21 years in the program. Maisonneuve was an assistant coach for 10 seasons at Louisville and Indiana, his alma mater, before being given his first head coaching job with the Buckeyes. A former All-Big Ten player with the Hoosiers, he played nine seasons for the Columbus Crew and was a member of the 1998 U.S. World Cup team.
Players to know
Redshirt freshman forward Devyn Etling, No. 9. Etling was set to produce immediately after arriving in Columbus, but he received a medical redshirt after missing all of 2017. Despite also missing four games so far this season, Etling is the Buckeyes’ leading scorer. He has three goals on just 14 shots, giving him the team lead with six points.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Parker Siegfried, No. 1. He took a redshirt to learn the ropes in 2015, and Siegfried has been the Buckeyes’ starting goalkeeper ever since. However, this season has been the worst of his collegiate career. Siegfried has allowed 1.74 goals per game and has a .638 save percentage, both of which are outside the top 150 in the nation.
None. This Ohio State team is not good, and in fact, it's quite bad. The Buckeyes rank tied for last in the entire country in scoring offense with a paltry 0.50 goals per game, and the defense is a sieve, allowing 1.74 goals per game to its opponents.
Offense. The Buckeyes don't do much of anything particularly well, but when you rank last in the nation in a category, that’s a glaring weakness. On the season, the Buckeyes have scored just seven goals in 14 games, and their .333 shot accuracy percentage ranks 200th out of 205 teams.
Three things to watch
1. Can Maryland build off its win against Denver? Beating the top-10 Pioneers was the highlight of the season for the Terps, and although they won’t face much of a challenge against Ohio State, they still need to carry forward what they did well as the season nears its end.
2. Does Ohio State score? The Buckeyes have been shut out eight times in 14 matches this season, losing seven of those outings (they played Northwestern to a scoreless draw). Maryland’s back line has been one of the best in the nation, and it’s the biggest strength the Terps possess. Many teams have difficulty scoring on the Terrapins, and that’ll certainly be the case with Ohio State.
3. Does fatigue play a factor? In a change from both teams’ usual routine, the two squads played their previous matches on Tuesday preceding the Friday contest. It’s not a significant difference from the normal schedule, but having one less day to recover could play a factor, especially considering the high-stress minutes the Terps logged against Denver.