By: Eddie Hobbs
Gordon Wild is one of the many great attackers featured in Maryland men’s soccer’s starting lineup this year. Wild put himself on the map in 2015 when he played at USC Upstate and scored 16 goals for the Spartans.
Wild was a star in the making, but in 2016, he was searching for a place to call home after he decided to transfer schools. Head coach Sasho Cirovski convinced Wild to join the historic Maryland Terrapins program and, after seeing how steady Cirovski’s program was, Wild couldn’t deny the opportunity.
The first year for Gordon Wild went as well as he could have imagined: 17 goals, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and he was a MAC Hermann Trophy finalist.
Patrick Mullins, a 2013 graduate, was the only other Terrapin to score 17 goals in a season.
The only thing missing from Wilds’ resume is the championship pedigree. Wild mentioned a few weeks back about how the only thing on his, and the team’s mind, is to win an NCAA Championship. The loss to Providence was devastating, but you do not have to remind anyone on the team of that.
“I think our team has improved from last year, and we all also grew from that loss. I think you learn the most from your biggest defeats,” Wild said. “That defeat last year hurt us a lot.”
Coming into the year, Wild was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, something that not many players are awarded. Wild has embraced it, he knows that all eyes will be on him.
“I see it as an advantage this year, other teams probably know who I am. They know that I like to score,” Wild said. “It also gives me a chance to evolve my game, and get my teammates more into play.”
Wild has now scored five goals on the season, although many opposing defenses have focused on Wild and tried to shut him down. His first three goals either came off a penalty kick or a set piece.
Against then-No. 4 Indiana last Friday, Wild had four shots, with none on goal. There was one perfect opportunity for Wild. He was waiting in the box for a cross from a teammate, and when he was wide open in front of the six-yard box, he mistimed his jump and whiffed on the open header. If it had gone in, it would have given Maryland the 1-0 lead.
This was very different from a year ago, when Wild was firing on all cylinders offensively. Cirovski noticed Wild had been in a slump, checked the tape with his young star and pointed out some things he could do differently after the Indiana game.
On Tuesday night against Rutgers, Wild flourished. He scored two goals en route to a 3-0 Terps victory.
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“It was good for people like Gordon to see that he needs to get in the box,” Cirovski said. “We really want him to get in there because he reads the game well, and he had a couple tap ins today. It was good, this is the part of the growth of a team.”
After scoring a few easy goals against Rutgers, Wild said that he owes it all to his coach for helping him out.
“He basically just reminded me that I have to spend more time in the box, because that is where I am most successful,” Wild said after the Rutgers game. “So today I tried to occupy that space a little more than I used to before. It sort of unlocked me.”
After just scoring one goal in a two-game span, Maryland’s offense got right back on track against Rutgers by scoring three goals, with two coming from Wild.
With an up-and-down season for Gordon Wild, he has certainly taken the strides off the field to become even better than he was a year ago.