Maryland men’s soccer loses 2021 home opener 1-0 against Ohio State

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

In the 72nd minute of a scoreless tie, Ohio State midfielder Joe Ortiz found the back of the net, which proved to be the only goal of the contest.

The goal came off a counter-attack by Ohio State down the right side. One pass lead to another and finally reached Ortiz who put the ball in the back of the net past Maryland goalkeeper Jamie Lowell.

Ohio State’s sideline went into a frenzy as the ball crossed the line. The goal would end up being the difference in the mainly cloudy afternoon at Ludwig Field as the Terps dropped their home opener 1-0 to Ohio State.

“Just an extremely disappointing and depressing performance today,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “After the slow start against Penn State, I expected us to be much better in the opening half and that certainly was not the case.”

For the straight second match, Maryland struggled out of the gate. Ohio State capitalized on the Terps slow start and produced some early opportunities. Lowell made couple of early saves in the match.

“I thought we trained really hard this week, redshirt sophomore midfielder/defender Nick Richardson said. “We were really hoping to put a better performance after what happened last week but I think we just missed on the little things.”

The Buckeyes were the dominant side for the first 45 minutes, but couldn’t finish any of their chances. With Maryland’s struggles, Cirovski made changes to the lineup.

Senior forward Eric Matzelevich and German freshman defender Alex Nitzl entering the pitch, while Paul Bin and Brayan Padilla went off. Despite the substitutions Maryland’s offense still struggled and both sides went into halftime scoreless.

“I think everyone expected us to play better than we did,” junior forward Justin Gielen said. “It’s just when it came the time of the match, people didn’t show up.”

For the second straight game in a row Maryland showed signs of improvement in the second half. Their passes were more direct accompanied by better movement, which led to improved scoring chances. Second straight game in a row with Maryland showing a different side in the second half.

Freshman forward Jacen Russell-Rowe had great chances in the second half. In the 53rd minute, Russell-Rowe took a shot towards the Ohio State net, but Buckeye goalkeeper Noah Lawrence swatted it away. In the 62nd minute, forward Mike Heitzmann almost scored off a brilliant Russell-Rowe pass, but the shot went high of the Buckeye net.

Despite Maryland bringing heightened energy in the second half, the match remained scoreless until Ortiz’s aforementioned goal in the 72nd minute. Trailing with less than 20 minutes remaining in the match, Maryland continued to fight back.

The Terps thought they had a fantastic opportunity when Gielen was taken down in the box by Ohio State goalie Noah Lawrence as he scrambled for a loose ball. That caused the Maryland sideline to erupt, but the referee didn’t call a foul and Ohio State was awarded a goal kick.

Over the final 10 minutes of the match, Maryland continued to push looking for a tying goal. However, they were unable to fire any shots past Lawrence down the stretch.

The loss also marked the last ever match for senior defender Ben Di Rosa who left the match with seven minutes remaining after suffering an injury. Maryland now falls to 0-2 on the season.

“I take full responsibility for my team not being at the level we should have been, particularly the first half,” Cirovski said. “We’ll get out of this hole sooner than later.”

Maryland’s next opportunity on the pitch will against Rutgers on March 3rd.