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Maryland men’s soccer falls to No. 13 Michigan State, 2-0

The Terps return to the loss column after a positive stretch of play.

Gabe Fernandez/Testudo Times

After not scoring in its first four games, Maryland men’s soccer scored in the next five. But the Terps returned to their scoring woes Friday night against No. 13 Michigan State, falling to the Spartans 2-0.

Michigan State (9-1-2, 3-1 Big Ten) got a goal from Patrick Nielsen in the 15th minute, and then another in the 79th from Farai Mutatu to seal the win. Both teams played a fairly even match, but the Spartans had the best chances of the two teams. They outshot the Terps 11-9, and had seven shots on goal compared to Maryland’s four. The Terps (4-4-2, 2-2 Big Ten) also drew nine corner kicks, coming up empty on all of them. Goalkeeper Jimmy Hague snuffed out any other Maryland opportunities, making four saves.

Both teams had chances in the early minutes, with Michigan State getting the best opportunities. The Spartans controlled the run of play initially, and struck in the 15th minute when Nielsen headed a Jack Beck free kick past Dayne St. Clair. It was the first goal Maryland had allowed in the first half since August 24.

Michigan State’s best chances for the rest of the half came off free kicks as well. In the 31st minute, a Spartans corner kick was headed away by Donovan Pines, and in the 43rd minute, a Giuseppe Barone free kick bounced off Mutatu and hit the goal line and left post before being corralled by St. Clair.

Following Michigan State’s goal, neither team could get control of the run of the play. The Terps had their fair share of opportunities as well, and two stood out above the rest. In the 21st minute, William James Herve skied a shot from outside the box high. Then in the 32nd minute, Pines headed a throw in from Andrew Samuels to Sebastian Elney in the box, but Hague had little trouble saving Elney’s volley.

While both teams controlled portions of the first half, Maryland dominated possession in the second half as it looked for a game-tying goal. The Terps had multiple chances early in the half, but a chance in the 77th minute changed the game. In that minute, Amar Sejdic missed on a volley and fruitless corner followed. Then off a throw-in, a bad series of passes led to a change in possession and Eli Crognale was called for his second yellow card of the game. Three minutes later, Mutatu dribbled from beyond half-field and blasted a shot past St. Clair to double Michigan State’s lead.

The Spartans snuffed out any Maryland opportunities after that, and the Terps were shut out for the fifth time this season. Maryland is back in action Tuesday against Georgetown.

Three things to know

  1. Maryland had its chances, but couldn’t get anything from them. Both teams had chances all night, but Michigan State’s defense held up better than the Terps. Whether it was shots or set pieces, it didn’t matter for Maryland tonight.
  2. The loss came at a cost. Eli Crognale will miss the next game after drawing two yellow cards. Crognale has taken most of Maryland’s set pieces recently, so the Terps will have to adjust for Tuesday’s game against the Hoyas.
  3. The tough stretch continues. Friday’s home game was the middle of a stretch where Maryland has four of five games on the road. The Terps head to the district for a match with Georgetown before facing consecutive top-five opponents, traveling to No. 2 Indiana next Friday and hosting No. 5 Denver on Oct. 16.