By: Justin Fitzgerald
The No.1 ranked Maryland men’s soccer team remained unbeaten Friday night with a 2-0 win over Ohio State. The Terps improved to 9-0-2 and 5-0-1 in the Big Ten with the win, while the Buckeyes dropped to 3-9 and 2-3 in the Big Ten with the loss.
The Terps were in control for the better part of the game, outshooting the Buckeyes 16 to nine, with eight of those shots coming after Maryland jumped out to a 2-0 lead. The backline kept Ohio State away from Cody Niedermeier during the first half, but let the Buckeyes put some pressure on goal in the second half.
“2-0 in soccer is a dangerous lead,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “You have a tendency to think the game is in control, and sometimes people just naturally take the foot off the accelerator.”
Gordon Wild scored his 10th goal of the season to get the Terps on the board in the 13th minute. Jake Rozhansky pushed the ball upfield and sent a pass to Sebastian Elney, who flicked it with the back of his foot to Wild. Wild almost didn’t score, whiffing once before recovering and finishing the play.
“I talked to Sebastian and Gordon before the game about their relationship and space distribution, and I thought they were really good tonight,” Cirovski said.
Cirovski said it has taken time for the two players to build a relationship on the field, but it’s starting to pay off.
“At all times they knew where the other player was, I thought they managed the space up front very well and they got rewarded,” Cirovski said.
After getting an assist on the first goal, Elney added his own in the 19th minute. After the ball bounced around the box, Elney’s strike from 15 yards out extended the lead to 2-0. Elney almost added another two minutes later, but his header went high.
There were slim chances on the other side of the field for Ohio State. The Buckeyes best chance came in the 27th minute, when they finally strung a few passes together before Nate Kohl put a header wide. It was one of just two shots Ohio State had in the half, compared to 11 for Maryland.
The Buckeyes were more aggressive in the second half, but still didn’t get a lot of good looks on goal. Kohl had the best chance for the Buckeyes in the 71st minute, but Niedermeier stopped it, diving to his left side to deflect the ball away.
Ohio State had another chance in the 73rd minute, when Austin Bergstrom had a shot blocked in the box and Abdi Mohamed put the rebound high.
The Terps had some chances of their own, the best coming in the 78th minute when Odoi-Atsem sent a pass to George Campbell, who couldn’t finish in front of the net.
The Buckeyes continued to threaten late, getting a corner in the 83rd minute that Alex Crognale headed out of the box.
After recording just one shutout in their first seven games, Maryland has recorded four straight. This is the first time the Terps have had four straight shutouts since 2010, and they haven’t recorded five straight since 1999.
“When you get a streak together like we’re doing right now, you just know that somebody’s going to make the play,” Niedermeier said.
Maryland will look to stay undefeated when they travel to Morgantown to take on No. 24 West Virginia on Monday. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.