Maryland men’s soccer falls to LIU, 1-0, after late score

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Maryland men’s soccer could not have asked for a more brutal exit from the NCAA tournament, A last-gasp winner from the Sharks put a premature end to the Terps’ season.

At Ludwig the Terps fell to an ambitious Long Island team that used a late goal to punch its ticket to the next round. 

In a game that was a midfield standoff, the Sharks did not have a shot at all in the first 45 minutes and the Terps’ only real chance came off of one of their 11 corners, when Malcolm Johnston flicked a header just wide of the far post.

Despite staying even and maintaining control throughout the contest, the Terps failed to muster a response when they needed one.  

“We were in control the entire game,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “They had one opportunity for 88 minutes, and we allowed them to grow into the game and we let them develop a sense of confidence that they could steal one, and that’s exactly what they did.”

The Sharks, who hail from the Northeastern Conference and won two penalty shootouts just to get to Ludwig, sat back for the majority of Thursday’s contest and waited for their chance. Their biggest chance, and the biggest of the game, came just about a minute from the end of regulation.

Assane Ben-Fall gathered and shot from the left corner of the box and found the corner with an unstoppable bending shot. The Sharks’ bench unloaded and raucous celebrations ensued. 

“You have to give them credit. They made the one play that mattered, and we did not,” Cirovski said.

An overall disappointing night for the Terps ends in heartbreak after the Ben-Fall goal. On his return, Malcolm Johnston wore a captain’s armband and made a captain’s statement regarding next season.

“I’m gutted about the results, but we will be back. We will move past this point and go much further,” Johnston said.