After nearly 100 minutes of play without much of a semblance of a threat on goal, No. 25 Maryland men’s soccer turned to their captains in to pull them out of a gutty match.
With time dwindling down in the first overtime period, senior Eli Crognale whipped in a perfectly placed ball from the corner to fellow senior captain Johannes Bergmann, whose headed effort snuck past No. 24 Yale goalkeeper Elian Haddock to give the Terps a 1-0 victory.
“It feels perfect,” Bergmann said of scoring his second goal in two games. “It’s a perfect night again, it was a perfect moment and it feels wonderful.”
After Maryland’s attack put up an emotional three goal performance to take down No. 6 Indiana in triumphant fashion, the Terps returned to the pitch looking to replicate some of the same offensive success from just four days prior.
But it was the Ivy League opponent that would begin the game quickly offensively. It was only in the match’s fourth minute that Yale would nearly solve the Maryland defense, as freshman forward Eric Lagos lept for a lofted pass and headed it bar-down off the crossbar. The Terps managed to clear it off the line, but the head referee called the play dead and opted to consult the video review monitor to determine whether the ball broke the plane of the goal.
Officials would eventually rule Lagos’ effort not to be a goal, but it was an out of character close call for a unit that didn’t allow a shot on-goal in their previous match.
Conversely, Maryland’s attack struggled to get itself out of neutral for a majority of the first half. Playing on short rest, a sluggish Terp offense couldn’t maintain connected in its attack, as Yale managed to halt its attempts on goal before it could reach much of a threatening position.
“I thought we had very little gas in the tank,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “I was worried in the first half seeing a little bit of a lack of energy, rightfully so after what it took on Friday night against a great Indiana team.”
The Terps generated just two shots over the first 45 minutes of play, with neither reaching the mouth of the goal, while Yale produced five shots and two shots on goal by the end of the match’s first period of play.
Cirovski opted for a formation change at the outset of the second half, putting the Terps in a 3-5-2 in an effort to jumpstart the offense. Sophomore midfielder Nick Richardson dropped to the center back spot and defenders Matt and Ben Di Rosa were pushed further into the attacking half of the pitch.
The change would yield improved connectivity among the Terp forwards and midfielders, leading to improved opportunities at goal for Maryland’s attack.
While junior midfielder Mark Winhoffer, who is tied for fifth in Division I in total assists this season with eight, was the player the Terps had circled on the scouting report, it was the lanky, yet gentle-footed sophomore forward Paolo Carroll that gave Maryland’s defense the most trouble. Towering over Maryland’s backline at 6’3 with an adept touch with the ball, he played an essential role in Yale’s attacking play all evening, producing two shots and a shot on goal for the Bulldog offense.
The match was forced to overtime after neither the Terps or Bulldogs managed to find a go-ahead goal in regulation. The teams traded possession back-and-forth through nine of the overtime period’s first 10 minutes, with a second overtime looking more and more likely as time trickled off the clock. But, in likely their last opportunity of the overtime, the Terps finally converted from the corner to pull out the win on Monday night.
Three Things to Know
- Maryland’s struggles to score in Monday matches continues. Entering tonight’s match, the Terps had scored just two goals over their four Monday night matches they’ve played so far this season. Such remained to be the case in this match, as the Terps again looked sluggish after having just four days to recover from their previous match, as they put together just eight shots and three shots on goal in nearly 100 minutes of play.
“We had tired legs,” junior defender Ben Di Rosa said. “The college soccer season is a grind, so to come out today against a good physical Yale team and get the result in overtime, I’m just really proud of our guys.”
2. Maryland remains undefeated in overtime matches. In this, their fourth overtime match of the 2019 season, Maryland managed to come away with their second win of the season after having to play beyond the 90 minute regulation period. The win puts Maryland at 2-0-2 in overtime matches this season, with their lone victory coming against St. John’s nearly a month ago.
“I’ve got a bunch of tough, competitive kids,” Cirovski said. “I keep asking for them to come up in big moments and they do ... It wasn’t pretty tonight but we were resourceful enough to find a goal.”
3. The Terps uncharacteristically couldn’t draw many corners. Entering the match generating the fifth-most corner kicks per game in Division I, Maryland only managed to create three opportunities from the corner of the field in Monday night’s match, the fewest they’ve generated in a single match this season.