After what was called a “loss” in the 0-0 draw against Indiana on Friday night, No. 3 Maryland bounced back with an emphatic 3-0 win against Rutgers on the back of Gordon Wild’s brace Tuesday night at Ludwig Field.
Maryland (5-0-1, 1-0-1) had frustrations carry over from the Indiana match into the first half against Rutgers (1-4-1, 0-2-0). No player’s performance was a better example of this than junior forward and Maryland leading scorer Wild.
Wild, who missed four shots and was frustrated all night long against Indiana, started the first half very similarly. His two first half shot attempts missed the target and his timing was off on a few crosses from either side.
Last season’s Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year made sure the second half did not replicate the first.
Wild scored the first goal of the night just six minutes into the first half. The goal originated from a through ball from senior midfielder Jake Rozhansky finding a streaking junior midfielder Eryk Williamson in the box. Williamson calmly slotted the ball into the center of the 18-yard-box to Wild.
Just eight minutes later, Wild scored his fifth goal of the season and his second wide open net. Yet again it was Rozhansky who set it up with a nice dribbling move to get past the Rutgers defense.
“Jake [Rozhansky], both technically and tactically, is such a smart player,” Mayland head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “He gets into good spots and is such a cool customer. He never panics and had some great slip passes today.”
Wild’s drought of not scoring from the run of play ended due to a changing the formation back to a 4-4-2, a tactical switch made to get Wild closer to the goal, Cirovski said.
“He’s been drifting out too far wide and too far from the goal [in past games],” said Cirovski. “He’s a goalscorer so we have to get him closer to the goal.”
Wild spoke of how the switch formation switch helped him get in better positions to score his two goal on the night.
“[Cirovski] basically just reminded me I have to spend more time in the box because that is where I personally am most successful,” Wild said. “…that unlocked me a little bit playing with two forwards.”
After the two goals and looking like the team on top, head coach Sasho Cirovski started to take out Maryland’s star players as Wild, Williamson, Sejdic, and Campbell were all rotated to preserve their legs for the next matchup.
Junior midfielder Jorge Calix saw his first action on the pitch after playing in all 18 games last season, while sophomore midfielders Paul Bin and Eli Crognale played in their second matches of the career.
Crognale, a transfer from Belmont, found the net from long rage after a goalkeeping error gave him the go ahead to fire from around 20 yards away for his first goal as a Terp.
Maryland dominated large stretches of the first half, keeping possession well by building up from the back. Junior defensive midfielder Andrew Samuels was key in helping the Terps not only hold onto the ball so well but also get the ball back, Wild said.
Cirovski and company outshot the Scarlet Knights 25-3.
However, the Scarlet Knights were direct on the counter attack, carving out two good chances that tested the Maryland defense. A one-on-one opportunity for senior forward Dante Perez was saved by redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair. St. Clair, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, made two saves on the night.
The Terps now take on Penn State on Sunday at 5 p.m. in what will be their first road game since the first game against Santa Clara.
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