Despite being heavily out-shot for more than half of the match, No. 25 Maryland men’s soccer still found itself level with the No. 12 team in the country after 60 minutes of play.
But the Terp defense finally broke in the 64th minute, as Georgetown’s Derek Dodson saw his third shot of the evening find the back of the net to put the Hoyas up 1-0, a result that would hold for the final 30 minutes of play to handing Maryland its second home loss of the season.
“As the game progressed I think Georgetown’s depth and quality started to take over the game,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “Our inability to hold the ball in attacking positions and to cause [turnovers] started to really wear us down.”
Dodson’s goal came at the end of a long counter-attack, led by junior midfielder Paul Rothrock and senior forward Achara, who carried the ball all the way through Maryland’s defensive zone and into the box. With Achara tapping it off to Dodson, the Hoyas leading point-scorer hammered it into the back of the net for the score.
The goal followed what was nearly a score for the Hoyas just four minutes earlier, as an effort from Achara nearly broke the plane of the goal but was cleared away by Maryland defender Matt Di Rosa. The head official consulted the video review monitor to determine whether or not Achara’s shot was a goal, but was confirmed to have not broken the plane.
But it was Georgetown’s defense, bringing in a streak of three consecutive shut-outs, that made the big plays in this one. The Hoya defense suffocated the Terps for nearly the entirety of the match. Maryland’s opportunities to score were few and far between, and it failed to take advantage of its more threatening opportunities of the match to get shut-out for the first time in over two weeks.
“I think they got to every second ball pretty much throughout the second half,” junior defender Ben Di Rosa said. “If we played a little more direct we were kind of taking some space and getting some territory, but in the second half they were just winning every second ball and kind of taking it straight back to us.”
Neither club could develop much of a semblance of a scoring opportunity through the match’s early going, with either side parrying back and forth for most of the first half. The Terps, guarding against one of the better scoring attacks in the country this season, maintained their defensive depth against Georgetown’s speedy wingers while probing for opportunities to strike on the counter-attack.
But the Hoyas were just as stout defensively, as head coach Brian Wiese deployed an aggressive press from the match’s outset. A couple of turnovers on Terp clearances gave Georgetown a slight edge in shots in the first period, out-shooting Maryland 5-2 after 45 minutes.
The Terps continued to fall further behind in the shot battle as they entered the second frame, with the Hoyas’ dynamic offensive trio of Dodson, Jacob Montes and Achara out-classing Maryland’s defense on multiple occasions. But Cirovski’s defense continued to bend not break despite the onslaught by Georgetown’s attack, keeping their opponent scoreless after 60 minutes in spite of their efforts.
Dodson’s goal, though, was what broke the Terp defense, and it was only the fifth goal the Terps have allowed at home this season. The loss puts Maryland at 6-4-3 on the season and ends what was a near-month stretch for the team without a defeat.
“Big credit to them, they were all over us,” redshirt freshman midfielder Nick Richardson said. “We didn’t really have a solution for the last 45.”
Three Things to Know
- This was the lowest offensive output for the Terps since September 2nd. Maryland’s match against now-No. 1 Virginia earlier this season was one of the poorer offensive performances Cirovski’s squad has had this season, totaling just five shots and two shots on goal in a 2-0 loss. Tonight’s match was fairly similar, as the Hoyas blew away the Terps in the second half offensively. Maryland would end the match with five shots and two shots on goal, compared to 16 shots and seven shots for its opponent.
- Luke Brown’s scoreless streak continues. While injuries to Maryland’s offensive unit has created opportunities for the likes of freshmen Malcolm Johnston, David Kovacic and sophomore Justin Gielen, the graduate transfer from England has yet to make much of an impact so far with the Terps. With just an assist to his name so far this season, Maryland will hope to get more out of Brown, especially so if it finds itself in more offensively stagnant matches such as Monday night.
- It was a battle of two freshman keepers. Freshman Niklas Neumann made his sixth straight start in net for the Terps, while freshman Tomas Romero made his fifth appearance of the season for the Hoyas. Neumann had a much more eventful night than his freshman counterpart, but made four saves including a couple impressive stops. Romero, facing just two shots on goal the entire evening, did his job whenever the Hoyas needed him to.
“I thought [Neumann] had a great game,” Cirovski said. “In a game where you have a defender take one off the line and a goalkeeper makes two or three big saves like that you should have a chance to win, but just not enough quality by us in the second half.”