Up 2-1 with a minute remaining in the second half, it appeared Michigan would hand Maryland men’s soccer its first loss of the season. But like earlier this year, the Terps would find a way to tie it.
Gordon Wild sent the ball in from the left flank and Chris Odoi-Atsem came charging in to finish with his right foot to tie the game.
Then with a minute remaining in the second overtime, Suli Dainkeh scored his first career goal to give No. 1 Maryland (15-0-2, 7-0-1) its first undefeated season since 1968.
“I can’t describe my emotions right now,” Dainkeh said in a postgame interview on the Big Ten Network. “I’m just really happy.”
The Terps usually strike first, but this time the Wolverines (3-10-4, 1-6-1) did. In the seventh minute Francis Atuahene tried to push the ball through a few defenders, but had his shot blocked by Alex Crognale. The ball bounced to Robbie Mertz, who put it in the back of the net to give Michigan the lead.
The Wolverines doubled their lead in the 19th minute when Jack Halahan sent it in from the right flank.
Wolverines head coach Chaka Daly praised Atuahene and Halahan in his halftime interview on BTN, saying that both players are “extremely dangerous and made the difference in the first half.”
Maryland had some chances in the first half, but its offense looked out of sync due to Amar Sejdic being out with a muscle injury, and Sebastian Elney, Eryk Williamson, and DJ Reeves out with food poisoning.
With three starters out, more responsibility fell on Gordon Wild and Jake Rozhansky. Rozhansky replaced Sejdic on free kicks, and missed a pair in the 21st and 29th minute respectively.
Wild had some looks as well, trying to cross it in the box, but they were blocked by goalie Evan Louro. But the Terps best chance came in the 32nd minute, when the ball bounced around the box but couldn’t get a shot off.
Despite being down two goals for the first time all season, head coach Sasho Cirovski was relatively calm when interviewed at halftime.
“I thought we played well and created some chances, but we we’re a little disconnected in the final third. We’ve got some goals coming, Cirvoski said.”
Dainkeh said he was surprised that his coach didn’t “let into them,” but said message of staying calm helped the team in the second half.
The Terps had some good chances early in the second half. Kelly blasted a shot high in the 56th minute, and then Rozhansky couldn’t get a free kick high enough for Alex Crognale on a header.
Maryland got on the board in the 66th minute after Wild converted a penalty kick following a handball in the box.
The Terps had numerous opportunities to tie it with about 15 minutes left, but came up short each time. Cody Albrecht blasted a shot wide, and then Crognale had a header blocked by Mertz. Twenty-five seconds later, Louro deflected away a shot from Donovan Pines.
After a quiet first overtime period, the action picked up in the final 10 minutes. Jake Rozhansky had a header bounce off Louro and across the goal line, but wasn’t ruled a goal on the field. The call was upheld after review, and the game continued.
Two minutes later Rozhansky had a shot blocked, and then Wild had one saved. But with one minute left in the second overtime there was a scrum in the box, and Dainkeh found the ball and scored to give Maryland their first undefeated regular season since 1968.
The Terps will get a whole week off before playing either Michigan or Rutgers at Ludwig Field in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. The game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.
Photo by Lauren Anikis.