In a clash of DMV soccer super-powers, No. 25 Maryland men’s soccer will square off with No. 12 Georgetown in College Park Monday night. The premier matchup will air on FS1.
This match is the Terps’ fourth ranked of the 2019 campaign, going 2-1 in such games so far this season. It’s also their eighth home match of the year, where Maryland (6-3-2) has dominated its opponents to this point, winning six out of its seven matches at Ludwig Field.
Maryland has controlled the lengthy all-time series between the two programs, winning 29 out of the 34 matches against the Hoyas since 1952. But Georgetown has made strides toward keeping things more competitive with the Terps over the past two seasons, with a 1-0 victory in 2017 at Ludwig Field and a 0-0 draw last season.
Georgetown Hoyas (9-1-1, 3-0-1 Big East): 7 p.m.
Head coach Brian Wiese is the second-longest tenured active head coach in the Big East presently, as he enters his 14th season at the helm for Georgetown. Totaling over 150 wins in his career with the Hoyas, Wiese has established both Georgetown as a perennial contender for the College Cup title and himself as one of the better managers in Division I.
Players to Know
Junior midfielder/forward Derek Dodson (No. 9) has lived up to the preseason-hype so far in 2019, notching a team-high 11 points after being named Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Earning First-Team All Big East honors last season as well, Dodson is a dynamic offensive weapon that is a constant threat to create a goal whenever the ball is in his possession.
Junior midfielder Jacob Montes (No. 7) combines with Dodson to form a lethal offensive pairing at the top of the Hoya formation. With a team-leading five goals this season, Montes has developed into a solid creative piece that has helped drive the Georgetown offense to success in 2019.
Senior defender Dylan Nealis (No. 12) leads the Hoyas on the defensive end of the field, starring as an essential cog in Wiese’s back line since his freshman season with the team. With 63 career starts under his belt and the 2018 Big East Defensive Player of the Year honor to his name, Nealis is a stalwart defensively and surely will make things difficult for the Maryland attack Monday night.
Assists. Through 10 games, Georgetown has proven that its one of the more capable teams in the country when it comes to setting the table for its teammates. The Hoyas check in at 13th in the country in assists per game with 2.3, and they have five different players with at least three assists on the season. Surgical in their offensive approach game-in-game-out, Georgetown thrives at sharing possession and working for the best possible shot.
Generating corners. Despite being one of the higher-powered offenses in Division I this season, Georgetown has done so without all that many corner kicks. With just 5.2 per match, the Hoyas check in at 78th in Division I in that category and fifth in the Big East. Maryland keeper Niklas Neumann and the Terp defensive backfield have been stellar at defending the corner this season, but shouldn’t have to defend too many on Monday.
Three Things to Watch
1. Can Maryland officially re-enter Division I’s elite? After a 1-2 start saw the Terps tumble from the No. 1 spot in the country to outside Division I’s Top-25, Monday night’s match offers an opportunity for Maryland to re-establish itself amongst the nation’s best. A win over the No. 12 team in the land would certainly translate to a significant boost in the United Soccer Coaches Poll.
2. Will the Terps continue their streak of positive results? It’s been almost a month since Maryland has suffered a loss, with their 3-1 defeat against Northwestern on Sept. 20 being the last time it walked away from a match without a result. Since then, the Terps have rattled off three wins and two draws, with two of their victories being over ranked opponents. With each of their next three matches against quality opponents, the Terps’ run will certainly be put to the test.
3. Can Maryland improve to 6-2 in non-conference play? Roughly half of Maryland’s matches this season are with nonconference foes, and its performed much better against non-conference opponents than its Big Ten opposition.
With their only losses coming to UCLA and now No. 1-Virginia, the Terps will be looking to continue their level of success against non-Big Ten opponents. And with Monday being Cirovski’s birthday, the Terps will want to put up a victory for their leader.