By: Juan Herrera
The No. 1 ranked Maryland men’s soccer team beat Hofstra University on Friday night 2-1 in a very tense and rainy game at Ludwig Field.
Less than five minutes into the first half, senior defender Alex Crognale scored the first goal of the game after midfielder Amar Sejdic took a free kick from outside the box.
The ball landed to the right of the penalty box, where forward Gordon Wild shot the ball, but had it blocked by Hofstra Pride goalkeeper Leo Arkhanhelskyi. The Pride’s defenders scrambled to clear the rebound, but Crognale found space and shot the ball into the back of the net to give Maryland a 1-0 lead.
Crognale scored his second goal of the night about 15 minutes later on a header, after another free kick pass from Sejdic. It was Crognale’s 6th goal of the season and his fourth goal in his last three games.
“Amar’s just putting the ball in good spots and I’m able to out jump the defender and score it in the net,” Crognale said.
Although the Terps took an early lead 2-0, Hofstra still had its fair share of opportunities at scoring, including one shot from outside the box by Hofstra defender Mani Walcott in the 24th minute, that forced Maryland goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier to make a tough save.
The Terps outshot Hofstra 5-3 at halftime, but the second half was a different story. Hofstra pressured Maryland’s defenders by moving more men forward in the second half.
The Pride dominated possession early on, but it did not make much of a difference. Whenever Hofstra’s players seemed to get a decent look at goal, there was always one or more Maryland defender there to deflect the shot.
As the second half progressed, Hofstra had several opportunities to score, including a shot in the 73th minute from Hofstra midfielder Joseph Holland that Niedermeier saved to keep the game 2-0.
Maryland managed to find a few scoring opportunities late in the second half, including one opportunity created by forward Sebastian Elney, who nearly scored in the 81st minute on a shot that struck the right post and went out.
Hofstra finally managed to break through Maryland’s defense in the 84th minute of the game. Pride midfielder Meshack Eshun Addy scored off of a through ball pass, which he shot into the left side of the goal to make it 2-1.
Although the Pride outshot the Terps 7-1 in the second half, it was just too late, as Crognale’s two early goals in the first half were enough for Maryland to win the game 2-1.
“It was tough, Hofstra came out and they were creating chances, they were pressuring hard so it was a tough battle for us in second half,” Crognale said. “But Cody in the net was unlucky on the one goal, but we were able to lock it down and secure the victory.”
Crognale, who was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week last week, had another great game on Maryland’s senior night. He finished the night with two shots on goal for two goals.
“I’m delighted for our seniors tonight,” Maryland men’s soccer coach Sasho Cirovski said. “This was a hard fought, well earned victory against a very good opponent in Hofstra.”
This was the Terps tenth straight win of the season. The undefeated Maryland men’s soccer team (13-0-2) will play its final home game of the season on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. against the University of Delaware (9-5-1).