By: Brittney Bridges
The Maryland Terrapins men’s soccer team (0-2-2, 0-0 Big Ten) took on the UCLA Bruins (3-1-0, 0-0 Pac 12) in a traditionally anticipated matchup in College Park on Saturday afternoon.
The game, originally scheduled for Friday night, was postponed due to severe thunder and lightning. The aftermath was significant, as the crowd was noticeably smaller and the gloomy weather still loomed. Unfortunately, so did the desire for a Maryland goal. The Bruins won the game, 1-0, breaking the Terrapins win streak against UCLA from the last two seasons.
Maryland’s late struggles from last season have transferred into the current season, with the Terrapins inability to score. Following the scoreless result, Maryland has now gone 400 minutes this season without scoring a goal. Despite their scoring deficiencies, they’ve managed to tie two top-ten teams (No. 10 Stanford and No. 7 Virginia), both in shutouts.
One of the biggest factors in the matchup was Sebastian Elney being unable to play due to an ankle injury suffered in the previous Virginia game.
“He’s getting better day to day. We are still not sure when he’s going to return to play,” Coach Sasho Cirovski said.
Cirovski also added that he would not be active in their upcoming game this Monday. Elney had been a key component in prior games against UCLA, scoring both OT goals in both of the two prior matchups.
Safe to say, Elney’s leadership and overall absence was felt. UCLA finished the first half with five corner kicks in comparison to Maryland’s one, along with their four shot attempts against Maryland’s one. Though the tempo picked up in the second half, the Terrapins had only a couple of key chances where they could’ve capitalized; but even then, more needed to be done.
One of the positives of the matchup was the defense unit, who has been solid in containing teams while the offense has struggled. Donovan Pines had a relatively busy afternoon holding off the Bruins’ forwards.
UCLA finally broke through the Maryland defense when senior Erik Holt delivered a perfect cross to Mohammed Kamara, who leaped high in the air to head the ball past goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair to snag the only goal of the game in the 52nd minute.
Junior Donovan Pines stressed staying positive in times demanding and frustrating time like this. “We just have to stay together as a team and capitalize on the offensive side,” Pines stated. “We can’t defend all game,”
Other key players on the offensive end had a rough night, as they just weren’t able to get going. Senior DJ Reeves was heavily guarded and never maintained possession for long. Sophomores Eric Matzelevich and Eli Crognale were also relatively quite. The most involved were Ben Di Rosa and Paul Bin, though they also had no shots on goal.
“Our goal in these four games was to find out a lot about ourselves,” Coach Cirovski said. “We definitely have to tweak a few things, whether that’s in our formation or the responsibilities of some of our players.”
The Maryland Terrapins don’t get much of a break, being that they have one day of rest before their next matchup, against West Virginia on Monday at Ludwig Field.