Rutgers drops 3-0 contest to No. 3 Maryland
The Rutgers men’s soccer team played its second Big Ten game this Tuesday, visiting a familiar place: College Park, Maryland.
The Scarlet Knights (1-4-1, 0-2-0) went on the road to face the No. 3 Maryland Terrapins (5-0-1, 1-0-1) for the fifth time in four years. Rutgers seemed to keep up with Maryland early on, but after the teams came back from the locker room at the half, it was a whole different game.
“I think fatigue set in,” said head coach Dan Donigan. “And any time you’re playing against a team like Maryland, which has the offensive power that they have, they’ll just keep coming and coming at you. If you’re not able to make adjustments on the field and be able to keep the ball a little more to relieve some of that pressure, eventually they are going to break you.”
The Knights ultimately lost 3-0 after only creating three shots for themselves on the offensive side.
The first half was a quiet affair in terms of scoring, but it’s not like either team didn’t try. Maryland had a whopping 11 shots in just the first half, compared to two from Rutgers, but the score still stood 0-0 at the break. Junior goalkeeper Rafael Pereira racked up three saves in the first half as well.
The Knights wanted to prove themselves early in the game, but came on a little too strong out of the gate, as redshirt junior forward Miles Hackett was given a yellow card after less than six minutes on the field.
“We came out in the first half and really tried to establish ourselves and prove that just because we were playing against a ranked team, that doesn’t mean we need to play down to them,” said freshman defender Bryce Washington, who made a key block in the game.
In a two-minute stretch, the Knights played amazing defense, stopping the Terrapins from scoring and causing four straight corner kicks. T
For the two shot attempts the Knights had in the first half, senior midfielder Dante Perez had his shot saved by the Maryland goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, while senior forward Ryan Peterson had his shot blocked and sent the other way.
Defender Federico Gutierrez received Rutgers’ second yellow card of the game a few minutes before halftime. The 6-foot-5-inch, 200-pound freshman is the biggest member of the Knights and seems to be showing his physicality early on this season.
It seemed the Terps had enough of remaining scoreless when they went back into the locker room, scoring on their second shot attempt of the half, just over six minutes in, and took a 1-0 lead. Peterson showed some frustration after the goal by Maryland, picking up a yellow card three minutes afterward.
Not only had the Terrapins had enough of being scoreless, but they wanted to take a strong lead on the game as well, which in turn they did. Maryland scored a second straight goal less than 10 minutes after its first goal, widening the lead to 2-0 and putting Rutgers in a deep hole.
A shot from redshirt senior forward Ethan Vanacore-Decker couldn’t make its way past the goalie, instead being saved by the Terps' St. Clair. Unbeknownst to Vanacore-Decker and the Knights at the time, but that shot in just the 56th minute would be the last one for Rutgers in the game.
“I really think our center backs did a good job, but I was unhappy with our outside flank play,” Donigan said. “So, I think we are going to reevaluate our wide backs and midfield line, to be honest. We’ll see if we aren’t getting a good work rate or right positioning out of those guys.”
The remainder of the half would continue as a mostly quiet affair, until the Terrapins scored again and took a 3-0 lead in the 84th minute. The goal would be the Terps' 25th shot of the game, compared to just three from the Scarlet Knights.
Pereira saved the most shots of the season in the game, stopping seven shots from making their way into the goal.
“In the end, a loss is a loss. They put three goals in our net and we didn’t put in any so we’ve got to work harder,” Pereira said.
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