Maryland men’s soccer team’s nightmare continued Saturday afternoon as it has yet to score a goal in 400 minutes through its first four games.
The Terps (0-2-2) hosted the UCLA Bruins (3-1-0) on Saturday, after the game was postponed due to a thunderstorm Friday night, but the 1-0 loss was not what they were looking for after two straight scoreless draws.
“The result is disappointing and the performance as well,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “To come out of a game at home without a shot on goal is unacceptable.”
Freshman attacker Justin Gielen earned his first-career start with senior forward Sebastian Elney out with an ankle injury. Elney was ruled out after suffering an injury in the Terps’ scoreless draw with Virginia at Audi Field. Elney’s status is day-to-day according to a team spokesperson.
The score was knotted at 0-0 the entire first half, but in the 52 minute, junior forward Mohammed Kamara put the Bruins on the board after finishing a cross by senior Erik Holt with a header to the right post.
The Terps nearly surrendered a goal early in the first half, with redshirt junior goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair just getting a hand on the shot from Kamara to push it wide right of the goal.
The game seemed to be following a similar pattern to the Terps’ first three games in the first half, with little to no offense and no real looks on goal for either team. Only seconds after freshman William James Herve subbed into the game in the 28th minute, UCLA freshman AJ Vasquez fouled him he was on the receiving end of a yellow card foul by freshman AJ Vasquez.
Senior captain and UCLA transfer Chase Gasper was the second player to receive a yellow card in the 43rd minute, but UCLA could not convert the set piece. The Terps employed their attackers off the bench, including sophomore Eric Matzelevich, freshman Vinicius Lansade and the freshman from Slovakia, Richard Bedats, however, the offense was unable to put together a cohesive attack.
The first half ended with a total of four shots, with no real shot opportunity since the first 10 minutes of the match.
But this was not the case in the second half, at least for the Bruins with Kamara’s header goal.
“We lost it in the middle, and then they counterattacked us,” senior defender Donovan Pines said. “They moved our defense, so when they played it out wide we had less numbers back.”
Though the Terps’ backline surrendered one goal, Cirovski is not concerned with that portion of his team, as they were able to keep two ranked opponents in No. 10 Stanford and No. 7 Virginia scoreless last week.
“It’s just one game out of the whole season,” Pines said. “I think we just have to stay positive and keep looking forward… and fight as a team.”
Cirovski hinted at a possible formation change or a personnel change in the near future if the scoring drought continues for the offense, citing a disadvantage on the attack without Elney at the forefront.
They will be looking to get their first win and goal of the season, after one day of rest, when they host West Virginia on Monday night at Ludwig Field.
“Our goal with these first four games was to really find out a lot about ourselves, and we have now,” Cirovski said. “We certainly have to tweak some things… but I have great belief in this team.”
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