By: Juan Herrera
The undefeated Maryland men’s soccer team has not shied away from close games this season. Their game against the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on Sunday was no different.
The Wolverines were aggressive right out of the gate in the first half. They attacked the ball relentlessly and pressured Maryland’s backline early on. Then, only six minutes into the first half, Michigan scored after midfielder Robbie Mertz capitalized on a rebound from an earlier shot to make it 1-0.
Michigan continued to dominate possession for the next few minutes, forcing Maryland to play in its own half. Although the Wolverines pressured aggressively, Maryland still had a few attempts at scoring, including a shot from forward Gordon Wild in the 17th minute that sailed just high over the crossbar.
Then, in the 19th minute, Michigan doubled its lead after a pass from midfielder Francis Atuahene found forward Jack Hallahan on the right wing. Hallahan found space in the box and shot the ball toward the left corner to score and give Michigan a 2-0 lead. This was the first time the Terps trailed by two goals all season.
Even with a two-goal lead, Michigan continued to play aggressively on both end of the field. However, the Terps were able to create a few chances in the first half after the goals, including shots from Wild and midfielders Jake Rozhansky and Jorge Calix that were saved by Michigan’s goalkeeper Evan Louro.
In the second half, the Terps pushed more men forward in order to find goals. The Terps continued to pressure and it finally paid off in the 66th minute when Michigan defender Andre Morris hit the ball with his hand inside the penalty box after a shot from Maryland forward George Campbell. Wild took the penalty kick for the Terps and he shot it into the lower left corner to score and cut Michigan’s lead 2-1.
Maryland dominated possession for the next few minutes. The Terps pressured Michigan’s backline, forcing goalkeeper Louro to make two tough saves. By the 82nd minute of the game, Louro had eight total saves. Maryland could not get the ball past Louro.
It seemed like Michigan would hold on to pull the upset, but then with only a minute to go in the second half, Maryland defender Chris Odoi-Atsem scored the equalizer. The game would have to be settled in overtime.
During the first overtime period, both teams struggled to get any real offense going. Maryland midfielder Keegan Kelly took a shot from outside the box but it sailed high over the goal.
Then in the second period, with about six minutes left to go, Rozhansky shot the ball and it struck the top of the crossbar and appeared to go in. The officials initially called it a goal for Maryland, but after a closer look they reversed their decision. The refs said the ball had not gone in.
Even after the goal was waved off, Maryland continued to pressure with the hope of finding the game-winning goal. Then with a minute to go in overtime, senior defender Suli Dainkeh collected the ball after a scramble in the box and he shot into the upper right corner for the game-winning goal and his first of the season.
Maryland finishes out the season 14-0-2 and will begin to prepare for the Big Ten tournament.