By Juan Herrera
Coming off a convincing 2-0 win over Ohio State on Friday, the unbeaten No.1 ranked Maryland men’s soccer team travelled to Morgantown, West Virginia on Monday, to take on the No. 22 Mountaineers.
The Terps struggled to get much going in the first few minutes of the half. They sat back and defended while the Mountaineers were much more aggressive on the ball at the start. Maryland’s first real attempt at scoring came in the fifth minute after Maryland forward Gordon Wild struck the ball over the goal on a corner kick pass from midfielder Amar Sejdic. The next few minutes of the game were back and forth but mostly belonged to West Virginia. The Mountaineers piled on the pressure on offense, forcing Maryland’s backline to play tight on the ball.
West Virginia forward Jad Arslan and defender Ryan Kellogg both had opportunities to score but Maryland goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier made several crucial saves for the Terps. Despite West Virginia’s best efforts, they could not find the back of the net. They dominated possession, but it only took one shot on target for Maryland to score.
In the 26th minute of the game, midfielder Jake Rozhansky was able to free up Sejdic in the box, where he passed the sophomore the ball for a clear shot. Sejdic placed the ball well to score his fifth goal of the season and give Maryland a 1-0 lead over West Virginia. All the defending Maryland did in the first few minutes paid off. They remained patient and capitalized on an opening in the West Virginia backline.
Although the Terps had the lead early on, the Mountaineers kept on fighting. They outshot Maryland seven (four on goal) to five at halftime. This was only the second time this season where an opponent has outshot Maryland at the half.
The second half of the game featured much of the same. West Virginia continued to push up men forward, looking for the potential equalizer. But Maryland would not budge defensively.
Goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier played phenomenally against the Mountaineers. He finished the game with eight total saves, arguably his best performance of the season thus far.
Overall, the Terps did not play very well. West Virginia was much more physical and aggressive for most of the game. They outshot Maryland 15-8, but that did not matter because they failed to score a single goal.
Maryland has now won seven straight games and they will face off against Wisconsin at home on Friday, October 14th at 7:00 p.m.