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Maryland men’s soccer plays Stanford to scoreless draw in home opener

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Neither team could find the back of the net at Ludwig Field.

maryland men’s soccer Gabe Fernandez | Testudo Times

Maryland men’s soccer’s 2018 home opener was a marquee matchup against the No. 10-ranked Stanford Cardinal, who have captured the last three NCAA Championships. After 110 minutes of competitive soccer, the result was a 0-0 tie.

Maryland’s season-opening loss at Washington left many questions unanswered regarding the team’s 2018 campaign. After losing their three leading scorers, the Terrapins’ attack seemed to be without an identity. Those uncertainties weren’t resolved against the three-time defending national champions as the Terps failed to score a goal.

After being shut out in Seattle last weekend against the Huskies, Maryland kicked off its home opener with a sense of urgency that had not been seen since the middle of 2017. The midfield and attack played with an abundance of speed and ferocity as they tried to penetrate the Cardinal back line. But despite a number of scoring chances, including a corner kick, the Terrapins walked away with little to show for their efforts. When the first 45 minutes of the game were finished, they had just two shots, one of which was on goal.

Maryland faced a scare in the 23rd minute, when Dayne St. Clair collided with Stanford’s Charlie Wehan in the box off a cross and the junior goaltender went down. He stayed on the ground for a couple minutes while being tended to by trainers, but fortunately for the Terps, he arose and returned to his place in the net. With the struggles on offense, St. Clair is increasingly vital to the success of Maryland. His health and quality play is of the utmost importance.

Perhaps Maryland’s best scoring chance of the game came in the 51st minute, when Sebastian Elney was able to drive past the defenders into the box and left of the goal. He put a ball through the traffic to DJ Reeves, who had a point-blank scoring opportunity in front of him. However, he came in too strong with his left foot, which sent the ball wide left of goaltender Andrew Thomas.

More chances would come for the Terps, but none resulted in a shot on goal. Following a Stanford foul, Johannes Bergmann had a free-kick opportunity just outside of the 18-yard box, but Stanford’s defenders were able to head the shot out of bounds. Two separate corner kicks resulted in failed scoring opportunities, as neither was even close to threatening Thomas.

Stanford was inches away from completing a near-walk-off victory to stun the Terps in front of the home crowd. After being silenced for most of the first 89 minutes, the Cardinal had multiple scoring chances in the final minute. The late push saw a shot get blocked and another bleed through the back line, but St. Clair was there to send the game to sudden-death overtime.

No one can say that Maryland didn’t have the chances to win the game. In overtime alone, at least three scoring chances presented themselves for the Terps, but each shot failed to get on goal. Goalkeeper Andrew Thomas was in position to make a play, but it wasn’t needed. He’s yet to allow a goal in his college career, but he’s tallied just four saves in his two starts.

Three things to know

1. Dayne St. Clair was mostly untested. The junior saw a ton of action in the season opener against Washington, registering six saves while allowing two goals. But against the No. 10 team in the country, he faced just one shot on goal, and that came in the 90th minute. Credit for that will go to the entire team: the offense and midfield controlled possession for the majority of the game, and the back line held strong when it was tested.

2. The offense was better, but it still couldn’t score. Despite having less shots and shots on goal than a week ago, the Terrapins’ attack was demonstratively better. The unit was able to possess the ball for most of the game while keeping it out of the hands of Stanford’s forwards. However, a combination of turnovers and missed shots kept the Terps from scoring their first goal of the season.

3. The schedule doesn’t let up. After two straight contests against top-25 teams, Maryland will have to face a third straight ranked opponent. On Monday, it’ll face No. 7 Virginia at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. Without any semblance of a home-field advantage, the better team will likely walk out on top.