Maryland men’s soccer can’t overcome early deficit in season-opening loss against No. 23 Penn State.

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Maryland had an opportunity to tie up the match in the 18th minute after conceding a goal in the first six minutes.

A penalty was given to the Terps after Penn State defender Brandon Hackenberg received a yellow card for taking down freshman forward Jacen Russell-Rowe in the penalty box.

Junior Bryan Padilla stood in a ready stance before striking the ball with his left foot past the left post and wide-open net after Penn State goalkeeper Kris Shakes dove to his left. Padilla let a fantastic opportunity get away.

“His best days are coming, he’s just gotta work some of the rust off,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said.

The miss ended up being the difference of the match as Penn State would later on, score two more goals in the first half. Despite a much better second half, Terps lost 3-2 in the opening match of the new season.

Early on in the match it was evident that the chemistry of the Terps backline was still evolving. Cirovski noted before the match that the defense might be a work in progress in the first couple of matches of the season. Friday’s night play reflected his thoughts.

Maryland struggled from the outset and couldn’t get any momentum going in the midfield, which allowed Penn State to pounce and score a goal early in the match.

“We thought tonight would be a difficult challenge and obviously got off to a rough start,”Cirovski said. “I thought we played a little slow and into their pressure.”

Penn State took full advantage of the situation. With the ball being loose just outside the Maryland box, Penn State midfielder Andrew Privett took control of the ball and fired a shot with his left foot and scored in the bottom corner after just five minutes of action.

After the Maryland penalty kick miss, Penn State would respond. Redshirt senior Pierre Reedy hit a rocket shot 25 yards out into the top corner of the net in the 26th minute.

Penn State would later on tack another goal in the 35th minute by Peter Mangione to make it 3-0, a goal created by another Maryland turnover. The Terps opted to make some changes after the third goal, and the changes proved more effective.

The Terps play was better from that moment on as freshman midfielder Ben Bender becomes the centerpiece of the direction of play. Bender gave a long pass towards the Penn State box which Mike Heitzmann was able to reach. He was tripped in the box, which set up the team’s second penalty opportunity of the match.

This time, the Terps took full advantage of the opportunity as freshman midfielder Joe Suchecki found the corner back of the net to make the score 3-1 6 minutes before halftime. At the half, Maryland trailed 3-1.

While Penn State controlled much of the first half, the second half was a different story.

“In the second half we are a different team,” Cirovski said. “We played much faster. We put a lot more pressure on them.”

Both sides had scoring opportunities but could not finish. That changed until the 74th minute. Freshman forward Jacen Russell- Rowe launched a rocket shot 30 yards out of the goal into the top corner of the net to make the score 3-2.

The final 15 minutes, both teams found scoring chances but couldn’t break through. As the final whistle blew with Penn State’s fight song blaring in the background, the Maryland squad was left to ponder the miscues they had in the first half and lost opportunities during the second half.

“I thought we could have tied this game or won it,” Cirovski said. “But you have to give Penn State credit. They jumped on us early, took a big lead, and got the result.”

Maryland returns home to Ludwig Field Saturday, February 27th to take on on Ohio State.

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