No. 9 Men's Soccer Ties VCU To End Preseason Undefeated
Aug. 24, 2007
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The No. 9 Maryland men's soccer team completed its preseason action with a 2-2 draw against VCU on Friday night at Ludwig Field. Sophomore Omar Gonzalez scored the equalizer in the 83rd minute for the Terrapins who went 2-0-1 in its three exhibitions. Senior Stephen King, juniors Michael Marchiano and Rich Costanzo, and freshman Thorne Holder all sat out the final friendly to allow others to earn playing time and experience on the pitch.
With the tie, Maryland completed its preseason slate without a loss as the Terps beat Fairleigh Dickinson, 3-0, on August 18 and then defeated the University of Montreal, 3-2, on Wednesday afternoon. The Terps held large advantages in shots (51-21), shots on goal (24-7), and corner kicks (16-9) against its opposition in those games. The Maryland attack forced its opponents to make 16 saves compared to the Terps' three.
The Rams opened play against the young Terps' lineup, which featured five freshmen and three sophomores, by controlling much of the first half. Their first opportunity came five minutes into the match when Matthijs Maruanaya sent in a dangerous in-swinger from the left side following a Maryland foul. The ball bounced through the box but nobody from the visiting team was able to get to the ball to put a shot on net.
The Terps struck first moments later with a well orchestrated attack. Junior Graham Zusi, started the momentum on the left side when he found sophomore Drew Yates to his right. Yates found a streaking Rodney Wallace who was able to put the first goal on the board in the sixth minute.
Things got really treacherous for the Maryland defense when a foul was called inside of the box when a group of players were gunning for a loose ball. The referee placed the ball about 11 yards out in the middle of the box for a VCU direct kick. The red and black lined up in front of the goal line to try and prevent a score and it worked as freshman keeper Will Swaim saved the first shot by Sven Meusch, and then the Terps blocked the second attempt by Gerson Dos Santos.
At the 27:30 point in the half, Alan Delahunty served a cross from the left side into the box for Owusu Sekyere but his header missed by inches over the crossbar.
Ten minutes later in the 28th minute, the Rams would finally tie the game. After a Maryland foul on the left side of the field, Maruanaya set up about 40 yards out to send a ball into the box. Maruanaya did just that, but nobody from Maryland or VCU was able to get to the ball, which bounced into the right side of the net past a diving Swaim who had been screened by the action in front of him.
The Rams were able to take a lead into halftime after scoring in the 41st minute. Otavio De Luca sent in a cross off of a corner that Dos Santos fired into the back of the net for the 2-1 advantage.
The second half saw the Terps on the attack more and they got their first good chance at the 31 minute mark when sophomore Doug Rodkey found himself alone on the left side after a VCU defender missed a diving header to clear the ball away. Rodkey went one-on-one with the keeper at a tough angle and Andrew Dykstra was able to keep the score tied with his save.
Fifteen minutes later the Terps barely missed again when Gonzalez, who was deep in the offensive third, tossed a throw-in from the right side. Freshman Billy Cortes was sitting behind the traffic in the box and the ball reached him, but his blast to the right of the goal was deflected and missed by inches.
With about 10 minutes left, head coach Sasho Cirovski moved Gonzalez from the back line to the attack and it paid off. In the 83rd minute with the Maryland attack pressuring, Cortes flipped a pass to Gonzalez in the middle of the field. The 6-5 sophomore used his height, heading a ball over the smaller defender and the charging keeper towards goal. The ball trickled its way towards the goal line, but Gonzalez assured its place in the back of the net with a blast as he followed the play. The match would end with the 2-2 score.
Maryland will now look to its regular season schedule which kicks off in Indiana at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic. The Terps will take on the No. 7 Hoosiers on Friday, August 31 at 7:30 p.m. before battling No. 10 Notre Dame on September 2.