Maryland vs UMBC: Two Coaches Who Live and Breathe Soccer

umbc vs maryland soccer

For anyone who has grown up in Maryland as a soccer fan, if you don’t get excited about UMBC vs Maryland then you probably need to check this out.

Two local programs rich in history.

Two long-tenured, successful head coaches who love the game and recruit top local talent.

Two coaching staffs who have worked so hard to develop a close-knit, family atmosphere over the years, helping these young men develop both on and off the field, all while assuring them that they will forever be part of a special Terp or Retriever family.

The University of Maryland Terps, currently ranked number three in the country and yet to lose a game this season, take a short bus ride to Baltimore County tonight to take on UMBC at Retriever Park at 7pm.

I could tell you about Hermann Trophy-hopeful Gordon Wild and the Terps’ talented offense, made up of guys like Eryk Williamson and Jake Rozhansky.

Or we could talk about UMBC’s 1-0 victory over Maryland in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament.

But you can read about all of that stuff on each school’s website:

UMBC: Retriever Men’s Soccer Hosts Maryland in Tuesday Night Showdown

UMD: NO. 3 MARYLAND AND UMBC CLASH TUESDAY NIGHT

I want to talk about the two guys at the helm of each program…head coaches Sasho Cirovski of Maryland and Pete Caringi of UMBC, two head coaches who are extremely involved in the local soccer community who paid their dues before finding success.

Two Head Coaches who LIVE The Game

Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski and UMBC head coach Pete Caringi both started their collegiate head coaching careers in 1991, 26 years ago… meaning they’ve been coaching for a lot longer than any of their current players have been alive. Two of the best coaches in the Nation who have been coaching Division 1 soccer for a combined 52 years, but both men have been students of the beautiful game for even longer than that.

Pete Caringi, Baltimore

Coach Caringi had a successful collegiate playing career at local University of Baltimore, earning All-American accolades twice at the Division II school where he is the all-time leading scorer and, to this day, is ranked 21st all-time in Division II goals scored with 70. Coach Caringi won a Division 2 National Championship with University of Baltimore in 1975, and later went on to play for the Washington Diplomats in 1978.

Pete Caringi Washington Diplomats

The Diplomats made the playoffs that year, before getting knocked out in the first round by a Portland Timbers side which made it to the Conference Finals before losing to eventual NASL Champions the New York Cosmos, who went on to win their third of five NASL Championships despite losing Pele the season prior.

How about this for a few names, the NASL All-Star team that season included:

  • The late great Giorgio Chinaglia, as polarizing figure off of the field as he was on it. The Italian scored 193 goals in 213 Cosmos games, not a bad strike rate.
  • Rodney Marsh, one of the best NASL players of all time (Tampa Bay Rowdies) and a former Manchester City legend, making 188 appearances for the club, and 211 appearances for QPR prior to that, scoring 106 goals in 6 seasons for the London club.
  • Carlos Alberto, who captained Brazil in 1970, winning a World Cup.
  • Franz Beckenbauer, who needs no introduction….Der Kaiser won 5 Bundesliga titles, 3 European Cups (aka Champions League), 2 Ballon d’Ors, four German Player of the Year awards, a World Cup in 1974, and a Euro Title in 1972 as a player… before going on as a manager to help Germany win the 1990 World Cup, a Bundesliga title with Bayern in 1993-94, along with a European Cup in 1995-96.
  • George Best was an All-Star Honorable Mention
  • Former DC United manager and current legendary soccer commentator Ray Hudson was second-team NASL All-Star that season.
(l-r) New York Cosmos players Johan Cruyff, Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer  circa 1978

(l-r) New York Cosmos players Johan Cruyff, Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer circa 1978

After his season with the Diplomats, Coach Caringi laced up his boots in the Maryland Majors Soccer League, which makes you think about his son Pete III currently helping Christos become a Nationally-recognized name. He later went on to be the assistant coach of the Maryland Bays professional side, eventually taking over head coaching duties in 1990 and then taking over at UMBC in 1991 at the age of 36, still considered young for a Division 1 head coach.

Spend 10 minutes speaking to Coach Caringi and you’ll realize how passionate he is about the game, especially when it comes to soccer in Charm City. The Baltimore native is more than happy to tell you about the old days of Highlandtown and Patterson Park Soccer, and how many former USMNT players grew up in his old stomping grounds of Southeast Baltimore (from a 2011 interview):

“Every Sunday at Patterson Park,” Pete Caringi said. “It was neighborhood against neighborhood and a lot of times friend against friend.”

Caringi played for Pompei and Perrella on the Baltimore Kickers. The Mangione brothers, Nick and Dino, played for La Dolce Vita and Ernie Cox for Casa Bianco. There were Dnipro and Tom’s Produce, Tommy’s Lounge and Post 38, the Baltimore Bays and Baltimore Comets.

There was passion and pride, talent and tradition.

“You come in here and see the love everyone has for Pep,” Caringi said, “and it takes you back to those days. And it’s not just a Curley thing or a Calvert Hall thing. They’re from everywhere — Patterson, Mount St. Joe, Dundalk — all the club players from years ago. It just says a lot about the soccer community in general.”

A quick personal story…I grew up in PG County, played in the DC-area WISL adult amateur league for a few seasons before moving to Baltimore. I ended up playing a few seasons in the Maryland Majors league for a Baltimore Colts team which competed for the US Open Cup, a few years before Christos was making all of the headlines, and here’s what I’ll tell you about Baltimore amateur soccer (compared to DC)…tackles are coming in, and you’re going to be sore on Monday mornings at work.

Guys take pride in the soccer-rich heritage here in the Baltimore area, from the Baltimore Kickers clubhouse that could always be seen on Broadway Street in the heart of Fells Point, to the Italy World Cup posters hanging on the walls at the local favorite deli here in Highlandtown, Di Pasquale’s. There’s the Maryland Soccer Hall of Fame in nearby DuBurns Arena, which includes a number of old Baltimore names, along with a game ball from Christos’ US Open Cup run last season.

A few random old school Baltimore soccer pics

htown

 

 

 

 

1930's Police Athletic League Soccer at Patterson Park

1930’s Police Athletic League Soccer at Patterson Park

 

 

bmore soccerCoach Caringi has a .610 win percentage over a 26-year career.  His 276 wins makes him the 26th-winningest active coach in the country, turning the small Baltimore-area school with only 13,640 students (compared to Maryland with 38,140) and somewhat meager resources (when compared to coaches of other National powerhouse programs on that list) into a Nationally-recognized program which has made 5 NCAA Tournament appearances, including the recent Cinderella Final Four run in 2014.

A local coach who came up living, breathing, and eating Baltimore soccer, who still pays respect to the greats before him and has managed to build a program by recruiting local players who will take as much pride as he does in seeing Baltimore soccer continue to flourish.

Sasho Cirovski, College Park

Sasho Cirovski

University of Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski is the fifth-winningest active head coach in NCAA Division 1 soccer, with a 390-144 record leading up to this season. His .710 win percentage over 26 seasons is ahead of programs who seem to be nationally-ranked every season, such as UVA, Notre Dame, UCLA, and other powerhouse programs. But if you think that Coach Cirovski started his winning ways as soon as he arrived in College Park back in 1993, you’re sorely mistaken.

Sasho Cirovski Youth

A young Sasho Cirovski (right foreground) in his native Macedonia in about 1969 with brother Vancho, mother, Ljubica, and sister Diana. (Handout photo, from same Sun article)

Before the Macedonian-Canadian soccer coach took the reigns for the Terps, the University of Maryland’s men’s soccer program only made ONE NCAA Tournament appearance since 1976. ONE NCAA Tournament appearance (in 1986) in 17 seasons, so it would be hard to say that he inherited a competitive program.

Coach Cirovski didn’t grow up in the DMV. He grew up on the borderline of poverty, living in a small Balctic town called Vratnica in Macedonia, where he used the beautiful game to escape some of the harsh reality surrounding him.

From a 2009 Baltimore Sun article:

Cirovski’s ambition was forged early, those who know him say, during his hardscrabble youth in the sleepy Balkan town of Vratnica.

There, Cirovski and his family lived in several rooms atop a barn filled with livestock: chickens, pigs, cows and horses.

“We had no bathrooms, hot water or refrigerator,” he said. “We took baths in a small tub in the kitchen, by the wood stove. But we probably grew up healthy. There was no candy in our lives.”

His parents were factory workers, poorly-educated but proud of what little they could give their three children.

Cirovski’s father, Trpemir – friends called him “Terp” – slogged around Europe in search of work. In better times, he would scrape to buy a soccer ball and send it home to his sons, Sasho and Vancho. “The whole village would play with that ball for a month, until it wore out,” Cirovski said. After that, they made do with substitutes. “Whenever a pig was slaughtered, we’d save the bladder, blow it up like a balloon and kick it around,” recalled Vancho Cirovski, 49.

We’d play soccer wherever we were – on a hill, in the forest or on a riverbank,” the Maryland coach said. “We never saw games on TV because there were no TVs, but we heard older people talk about the great players. You developed an embedded love for the game. It became part of my DNA.”
Cirovski was 8 when his family emigrated to Windsor, Ontario. There, his father toiled long hours in a factory making car bumpers until being laid off for 22 months during the recession of the mid-1970s.”We were poorer than dirt and always in debt,” said Cirovski, by then a fast-rising player. “But if I needed to make a soccer trip, he would find a way to borrow $20.People trusted him to pay it back.”

For two summers, Cirovski labored beside his dad in the factory.”You came home from work with junk up your nose and dust all over your body, like in a coal mine,” he said. And he thought: The clock is ticking.

His father’s death at 52 upped the ante. “Life is the race for happiness,” Cirovski said, “I knew then that all I wanted to do was to live, eat and breathe soccer.” He has gone full tilt ever since.

“Sash works extra hard because he’s afraid of going backward,” said Vancho Cirovski, a self-employed entrepreneur in Windsor. “He remembers not having things. It’s always ‘go forward’ with him.”

Coach Cirovski’s desire to succeed can obviously be traced back to his days as a boy, where he had to endure hardships that would later in life make him the father of a Terps’ soccer family that has produced a countless number of professional soccer players.

Always remembering these experiences allowed him to continue to power through early struggles in his first few seasons in College Park… the feeling when you’re in a tough spot, but you know you’ve been through a HECK of a lot worse. He has since been able to successfully build the University of Maryland men’s soccer program into a National Powerhouse, despite going 3-14-1 in his first season, followed by four consecutive NCAA Tournament second round eliminations: University of Virginia in 1994, James Madison in 1995 via penalty kick shootout (a game my father drove me all the way to Harrisonburg to watch), William and Mary in 1996, and American University in 1997.

Since then, Coach Cirovski and The Terps have:

  • Won NINE Conference Tournament Championships
  • Won Four regular season Conference Championships
  • Made EIGHTEEN NCAA Tournament Appearances, with Coach Cirovski’s first season and 2000 the only two seasons when they didn’t make it.
  • Made it to the NCAA College Cup (NCAA Tournament Semifinals/Final Four) EIGHT times
  • Made it to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals ELEVEN times
  • Finished as NCAA Tournament Runners-Up once, in 2013
  • Won a National Championship twice, in 2005 and 2008

All while producing a long list of professional players, including a number of consistent USMNT players:

Retired:

  • Taylor Twellman
  • Jason Garey
  • Abe Thompson
  • Michael Dellorusso
  • Domenic Mediate
  • Danny Califf

Still Playing:

  • Omar Gonzalez
  • Mikey Ambrose (Atlanta United FC)
  • Marc Burch (Minnesota United FC)
  • A. J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy) *
  • Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union) *
  • Tsubasa Endoh (Toronto FC)
  • Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes) *
  • Taylor Kemp (D.C. United)
  • Zac MacMath (Colorado Rapids)
  • Dan Metzger (New York Red Bulls)
  • Patrick Mullins (D.C. United)
  • Chris Odoi-Atsem (D.C. United)
  • Robbie Rogers (LA Galaxy) *
  • Chris Seitz (FC Dallas)
  • Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)
  • John Stertzer (New York City FC)
  • Rodney Wallace (New York City FC)
  • Ethan White (New York City FC)
  • London Woodberry (New England Revolution)
  • Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

While Coach Cirovski didn’t grow up in the DMV area, he has established himself as one of the most respected coaches in the country, bringing a sense of pride to Maryland soccer. He can be seen at a number of local USSDA, USYSA, and high school games, recruiting the area’s best talent. He and assistant coach Brian Roland have an incoming class next season which includes DMV locals Nick Richardson and Justin Gielen who both look to be the real deal, to add to the Terps’ long list of nationally-ranked youth prospects that they are able to lure to College Park year, after year, after year.

Love of the Game, something both coaches (and a lot of us) have in common

Coach Cirovski’s humble upbringing, work ethic, and early mindset that saw him eat, breath, and live soccer…. from his early days in a barn with roosters and no working bathroom or hot water, all the way through adulthood where he’s now the head coach of one of the Nation’s top men’s soccer programs….combined with Coach Caringi’s local upbringing and identical passion for the beautiful game, makes this matchup more than just two local programs playing under the lights tonight at Retriever Park. Both coaches bring unique life experiences to their coaching careers, both coaches run successful programs, both coaches have developed professional players.

But more importantly, both coaches STILL love the game as much as everyone that will be in the stands or watching from the live feed tonight, which is to be commended. We’re lucky to have them here in the DMV.

 

 

 

College Soccer Preview: Week 4

NCAA DMV Soccer Schedule

There are some big games for DMV-area college programs this week, including the following:

Tuesday, September 19

GW @ #8 UNC 

Chapel Hill, 7pm

Watch live via stream

GW (2-3-1) Head Coach Craig Jones and team head to Chapel Hill to take on nationally-ranked UNC on Tuesday night. The Tarheels are 6-1 this season, coming off of wins this week against William and Mary (3-2) and Duke (2-1), and are currently second in the Coastal Division of the ACC.

GW comes into the match riding a streak of results as well, defeating Navy on Wednesday night 3-1 in Annapolis, followed by a double-overtime draw with UMBC on Saturday 1-1. Coach Jones seems to have found a bonafide starting forward in freshman Oscar Haynes-Brown, who scored in both matches and has scored 3 goals in his last 3 matches. Fellow freshman Brady O’Connor has started every GW match this season, scoring the game-winning penalty against Navy. This will be GW’s third match in 6 days, a difficult stretch for the Colonials who are 2-3-1 on the season.

ODU vs VCU

ODU, 7pm

ODU (3-1-2) Head Coach Alan Dawson and the Monarchs host VCU on Tuesday in a Virginia derby matchup. ODU is currently fourth in Conference USA standings, coming off of a 3-0 victory to open conference play against Florida Atlantic this past weekend. Freshman midfielder Brandon Perdue, who played for Richmond United USSDA, leads the team in scoring with four goals and an assist on the season, followed by Junior Max Wilschrey with 3 goals and an assist. Tuesday’s match will be the third in 7 days for ODU, defeating FAU and also earning a draw against a tough Campbell side last week, 1-1.

Virginia Tech vs Davidson

VT, 7pm

Watch live via stream

Virginia Tech (2-4) is coming off of two straight losses to ACC opponents: a 3-1 loss to Duke last weekend, followed by a 2-1 loss this past weekend to 12th-ranked Virginia. Head coach Mike Brizendine is hoping to get closer to a winning record after Tuesday’s match vs Davidson, who are 5-0-1 on the season and currently on top of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

American vs WVU

American, 3pm

American host a WVU side who is completing their third of three matches in the DMV area, coming off of a 3-1 victory over George Mason this past weekend, losing their first DMV match 3-1 vs UMBC this past week, American is 1-5-1 on the season, looking to turn things around against nationally-ranked WVU at home.

Wednesday September 20

 

UMBC vs Navy

UMBC, 7pm

Watch live via stream

A big DMV derby match on Wednesday night as UMBC hosts Navy at Retriever Park. UMBC (4-1-1) head coach Pete Caringi won his 450th collegiate game last Wednesday night, in a 3-1 victory against Nationally-ranked WVU, behind two goals from junior center back Kyle Saunderson and two assists from freshman Matt Bailey. This past weekend, the Retrievers came back from a 1-0 deficit at halftime to earn a 1-1 draw away against GW.

For Navy (1-5-1), head coach Tim O’Donohue continues to work with a younger squad, starting four freshmen and bringing a fifth off of the bench. The Midshipmen have lost their past 2 matches, a 3-1 home defeat to GW last week followed by a 2-1 loss at Duquesne on Saturday. Things don’t get any easier for Coach O’Donohue and company, with the UMBC match being the first of three games in a week for the Midshipmen.

JMU vs Radford

Radford, 7pm

Watch live via stream

JMU (3-2-1) head coach Tom Foley takes his Dukes’ side to Radford on Wednesday in another local DMV derby matchup. JMU defeated Niagra this past weekend 3-0 at home, Ben Dao scoring the first and leading the team in scoring with 3 goals.

Radford (coached by Bryheem Hancock) is also 3-2-1 on the season, coming off of a 2-0 victory against Howard this past weekend.

Georgetown vs Stony Brook

Georgetown, 4pm

Watch live via steam

Ninth-ranked Georgetown lost their first match of the season this past weekend, a 1-0 away loss to Xavier. Hoyas head coach Brian Wiese will look to get his side back to winning ways on Wednesday as they host Stony Brook who is 5-1-1 on the season and currently second in America East Conference standings.

For Georgetown, despite being 4-1-1 on the season and ranked ninth in the country, they are currently in seventh place in Big East standings, following their first conference loss this past weekend. Sophomore striker Achara leads the Hoyas in goals with five on the season, he also leads the team in shots with 12.

William and Mary vs Longwood

William and Mary, 6pm

Watch live via stream

William and Mary (3-2-2) is coming off of a 2-0 home victory against Campbell this past weekend, after dropping a close 3-2 away match against UNC last week. Head Coach Chris Norris’ Tribe team is currently fourth in CAA Conference standings, taking on a Longwood side which is 0-4-1 on the season. Antonio Bustamante, Ryder Bell, and William Eskay are all tied for leading goal scorers for William and Mary, with two goals a piece.

George Mason vs East Tennessee State

George Mason, 7pm

Watch live via stream

Mason head coach Greg Andrulis and company are currently in fourth place in Atlantic 10 Conference standings, with a 3-2-1 overall record. The teams above them: UMass and Fordham, are 4-2-1, so a win on Wednesday night at home could see the Patriots climb the conference standings as they host East Tennessee State.

East Tennessee State is 3-1-2 on the season, defeating Virginia Tech in preseason and also losing a closely-contested match against Nationally-ranked Kentucky 2-1.

For Mason, senior striker Henning Dirks leads the team in points with 4 goals and 5 assists, as well as in shots with 16 on the season. Sophomore Ryan Mingachos also has four goals, to go with Sophomore Tunde Akinlosotu‘s 2 goals and 2 assists on the season.

 

College Soccer Recap: #12 Georgetown hosts #1 Team in Country, UCLA

UCLA vs Georgetown

I took a trip to DC yesterday to watch the #12-ranked Georgetown Hoyas take on #1 UCLA, in what was a heated contest both on and off the field. Shaw Field, located directly on the Georgetown campus, was sold out, and the home crowd was absolutely electric. In terms of the weather, it felt like the sun was directly on top of everyone in attendance yesterday, and lets just say that there were probably more sweaty bodies in the crowd than there were on the field.

Both teams are coming off of tough losses from the weekend. UCLA, coming into the weekend ranked #1 in the country, suffered a 3-2 overtime defeat to the University of Maryland on Friday night in front of a record crowd at Ludwig field. Georgetown lost to an Akron team over the weekend which actually defeated Maryland last night. So, needless to say, both coaches would be doing all they could to come out of the weekend avoiding a pair of losses.

UCLA seemed to start off in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Georgetown Hoyas coach Brian Wiese favoring a 2-striker system with a 4-4-2 formation. Wiese got a ton of effort out of his entire team, especially up front through Senior striker Brandon Allen and Junior Alex Muyl. Allen is a big body, listed at 6’1″ but appearing much bigger on the field through his play. He was strong in hold up play, and worked his socks off throughout the match to make dangerous runs with and without the ball. Muyl, his striker partner, was no slouch either. His work rate and creativity, combined with his close touch in traffic, provided a number of opportunities against a UCLA defense that struggled to contain both forwards.

For UCLA sophomore forward Abu Danladi, who was voted the Gatorade National Player of the Year in his senior year of high school, was voted Freshman of the Year by Top Soccer last season, and looks poised to be a top draft pick if/when he enters the MLS Draft, absolutely terrorized the Georgetown defense throughout the match, especially in the second half. The Ghana-born striker was also strong in hold-up play, but also possesses the speed and strength that would have any defender in the country shaking in his boots once he’s coming at him. At 5’10”, 170 pounds, his physical presence and athletic attributes, combined with his excellent work rate, make him look like a combination of Obafemi Martins and Loic Remy. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but needless to say, I was impressed with the young man and expect big things from him once he takes the leap to the next level.

Anyway, on to the action, which started off with Alex Muyl for Georgetown finding himself behind the UCLA back line and going to goal, only to be fouled and taken down from behind by UCLA’s Michael Amick who was extremely lucky to escape with only a yellow card. Amick appeared to be the last man, and the referee’s decision to not asses a straight red wasn’t exactly met with open arms by the home student section. The free kick was taken by Georgetown’s Brendan McDonough, which was kicked directly into the wall.

I decided in the 20th minute to take my chances with the concession stand and go hunting for a bottle of water. After 20 minutes in line, only to find out that they ran out of water, I missed the first Georgetown goal which was scored by junior Brett Campbell. From what I gathered from my friend sitting next to me, it was a ball which bounced around the UCLA box, and put in by Campbell aka Johnny on the Spot. Either way, a goal is a goal, it just would have been nice to see it. Word on the street is that Georgetown is a pretty decent school, you would think they would have more than one person taking money at the concession stand, and that they’d have more water available during a holiday game against the #1 team in the country which felt like it was being played in Dubai somewhere, but what do I know.

I returned to my seat with 5 minutes left in the first half (yes, seriously) which ended without much to write about. Okay, I’m ready for an action-packed second half, let’s do this.

UCLA vs Georgetown

At some point in between my concession stand journey and the start of the second half, UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo decided to switch to a 2-striker formation, which appeared to be a 4-4-2 from the naked eye. This is where Abu Danladi was at his most dangerous, and he absolutely gave the Georgetown defense nightmares in the second half.

While the weather may have cooled off a bit in the second half, the play on the field was more heated than before.

Georgetown was able to get a quick goal in the 46th minute when they were awarded a free kick in the middle of the field from 30+ yards out. With the free kick being in the middle of the field, and a right-footed Brandon Allen taking the kick, it didn’t appear to be a dangerous situation. However, the UCLA defense was unable to deal with a ball played directly in the middle of their box, and Georgetown sophomore Arun Basuljevic, who was voted Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season, got on the end of Allen’s free kick and played a looping header over 5’11” UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes who watched the ball sail into his net.

2-0 Georgetown.

UCLA came out firing after the second goal, desperate to keep working for a result. In the 48th minute, UCLA’s Jackson Yueill, who is a member of the USMNT U-18 team and who was dangerous throughout the match, found himself with an opportunity in Georgetown’s box, only for his shot to find the outside of the net for a goal kick. A few minutes later, Danladi had an open shot at the top of the Georgetown box, only for his shot to find the hands of Georgetown freshman goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski, who is also a member of the U-18 National Team pool. Needless to say, there was talent on display at all positions on the field, in a heated #1 vs #14 matchup.

Abu Danladi continued to assert himself on the match in the 52nd minute when he was involved in some hold-up play in the box, laying it off to a teammate whose shot resulted in a UCLA corner. A few minutes later, Danladi had another opportunity of his own, a wide open header in the Georgetown box which was another easy save for Georgetown keeper JT Marcinkowski. UCLA was starting to threaten, against a Georgetown back line which looked a bit shaky.

It is worth noting, actually, that both back lines looked shaky in possession throughout the match. There were a number of unforced turnovers, bad passes, and both goalkeepers were guilty of kicking the ball out of bounds in back to back possessions despite not being put under pressure.

Anyway, back to the action, and guess who? In the words of Marc Jackson, “momma there goes that man again”, Abu Danladi finds the ball in the 56th minute and runs directly at the Georgetown back line, only for the ball to be cleared away. It’s only 11 minutes into the second half, and I already need another water break. Oh wait, I didn’t get the first water break. Well hopefully these guys are staying hydrated when they have the chance, because the pace of play is electric, thanks mainly to the Georgetown students and fans who lined the field and provided an excellent atmosphere.

Georgetown soccer fans vs UCLA

Georgetown students adding to an electric atmosphere at Shaw Field

Danladi was given another opportunity on goal, this time being set up by strike partner and fellow Ghanaian Abdullah Adam, but Georgetown keeper JT Marcinkowski was once again cool under pressure.

UCLA’s freshman sensation Jackson Yueill was once again able to assert himself on the match in the 68th minute when the ball was crossed to the left side of the Georgetown box. Yueill’s teammate found him on the top of the 18, and Yueill was able to take a touch and set himself up for a right-footed shot which deflected off of a Georgetown defender and smashed off of the crossbar, with Georgetown keeper JT Marcinkowski this time appearing to be beaten. The ball stayed in play, and Marcinkowski was forced to make a save directly in front of the left side of his goal, which resulted in a UCLA corner kick. Needless to say, UCLA was pounding on the door.

Following the corner kick, Georgetrown strikers Alex Muyl and Brandon Allen were given a much-needed break, with both of them working hard to keep the ball and work extremely hard in the severe heat.

From a tactical standpoint, both teams were able to get wide play out of their outside backs in the 4-4-2 formation. UCLA’s Chase Gasper, who is from Alexandria and attended Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC, was able to make a darting run up the left side of the field in the 70th minute. The hometown sophomore’s run up the field resulted in UCLA winning a free kick from around 25 yards out. The free kick was taken by Jackson Yueill, which was initially cleared by Georgetown, but the ball eventually found its way to Abu Danladi, deflects and bounces in the Georgetown box, and is finished by Jackson Yueill to make it 2-1. UCLA grabs the ball out of the net, and game on.

Two minutes later, Abu Danladi is played in behind the Georgetown back line off of a punt from UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes, but instead of going to goal himself, he opts for the unselfish option and lays it off for a teammate, who was ruled to be in an offside position.

Another two minutes go by, and somehow Abu Danladi is able to create yet another scoring chance, this one being probably the most important of the match. Danladi finds the ball outside of the box, runs into the heart of the Georgetown defense, and appears to be taken down for a UCLA penalty kick. No call, however, and the traveling UCLA fans go ballistic. Following the ensuing corner kick, play is stopped and UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo is spoken to by the referee, with the head coach visibly upset at the referee’s decision. In all fairness, he did appear to have an argument, with this being a crucial point in the match which could have resulted in the game being tied.

With 15 minutes left, former Loyola player Larry Ndjock, now playing for UCLA in his senior season, has a ball sit up for him which he crushes on the volley, only for JT Marcinkowski to push it over the bar in an amazing reaction save.

With Georgetown strikers Brandon Allen and Alex Muyl being reintroduced to the match, things started to turn in favor of the Hoyas. UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes was starting to be put under pressure, and not just by the Georgetown players. The fans behind his goal were harassing him throughout the second half, including a pretty clever Finding Nemo Seagulls chant of “Juan Juan Juan Juan”.

UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes hears it from the home Georgetown fans

UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes hears it from the home Georgetown fans

The rest of the game involves an impressive (and probably unnecessary) flip throw from UCLA’s Seyi Adekoya which ended up going out of bounds. This ends up being the last notable threat on the Georgetown goal, with the Hoyas’ back line and goalkeeper being put under pressure throughout the second half. UCLA actually appeared to have three forwards with 8 minutes remaining in the match, and possibly as a result, Georgetown ends up getting their third goal (and the proverbial “nail in the coffin”), with junior Brett Campbell getting his second goal of the match. Both Georgetown forwards who were reintroduced, and whose hard work and skillful play had such a positive impact on the match, were involved in the goal. Alex Muyl and Brandon Allen were both credited with assists on the goal.

Okay, now I really need a water break, time to find a 7-11. And to top it off, as the game is winding down, Georgetown fans serenade the UCLA players, coaches and fans with a chant that they’re sure to remember on their long trip back to the West Coast.

“OOOOVVVVEERRRRRRAAAAAATED!”

 

 

 

Recap: Navy vs Ohio State

 

Glenn Warner Soccer Facility

We took a trip to Annapolis on Sunday to watch Navy soccer take on Ohio State at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility, located directly on the water in downtown Annapolis at the United States Naval Academy.

Coming off of a 3-2 overtime loss to a tough opponent in Oakland this past Friday, Navy head coach Dave Brandt and his team were hoping to put in an impressive home performance to improve their record to 2-1-1, going into two straight away games against Longwood and University of Maryland, respectively.

The Midshipmen were dominant throughout the match, and the only thing more beautiful than the waterfront background surrounding the pitch was Navy’s tactical and patient play. In what appeared to be a 4-2-3-1 formation with Senior Derek Vogel leading the line as the lone striker, very rarely was their back line left unprotected against an Ohio State team which preferred a more wide open attacking formation, made up of 3 and sometimes 4 attacking players.

Navy’s 2 holding mids stayed disciplined and patient throughout the match, and could usually be found directly in front of their back line whenever Ohio State was able to win the ball. Navy was also able to drop 10, and sometimes 11, players behind the ball during most of Ohio State’s buildup.

From a defensive standpoint, Navy’s back line- made up of freshman Ericson Bean, sophomore Dylan Struthers, sophomore Thomas Moore, and senior standout right back Michael Parker (from Owings, MD and who attended DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville)- looked strong, compact, and disciplined throughout most of the match. Their outside backs had no problem flying up the wing and joining the attack whenever necessary. Defensively, they were able to deal with whatever Ohio State threw at them, anchored by Senior goalkeeper Jackson Morgan who posted 2 saves, one of them being at point blank range from a wide open Ohio State player within 15 yards.

Navy’s defensive efforts from their back line and holding mids was paired with tidy play from their center attacking mid, sophomore Daniel Zaremba. Very rarely did Zaremba turn the ball over. His vision, movement, decision making, and close touch in traffic frustrated Ohio State for the final 2/3 of the match, after coming on as a sub in the first half.

Things got started off in the 17th minute when striker Derek Vogel was almost handed an opportunity. Ohio State’s center back played a poor pass out of the back, directly to a Navy player, who laid it off for Vogel whose effort failed to test the goalkeeper.

11 minutes later, senior Thomas Shiiba had a wide open look from the left edge of the 18-yard box after a Navy midfielder was able to drive at the center of OSU’s defense and lay it off to him, but his effort sailed over the goal.

In the ensuing buildup for Ohio State, in the 29th minute, #19 Marcus McCrary of Ohio State, who was active and very dangerous throughout the match, found himself with an open opportunity in front of goal. He tried to beat Navy goalkeeper Jackson Morgan near post, but his shot found the outside of the net.

Things started to get chippy around the 34th minute. Senior right back Michael Parker was able to keep the ball while under pressure from an Ohio State player, and was able to win a free kick after some heated physical play. A minute later, Daniel Zaremba, who had just come on as a substitute, drove into the box and appeared to have an argument for a penalty, but the referee deemed the OSU player’s tackle to be a clean one.

It didn’t take Navy long to get on the scoreboard after things heated up. Sophomore Aubrey Jones found the back of the net for Navy’s first goal, after he was played in for an open shot on the left-hand side of the box by sophomore Brock Dudley.

Ohio State was able to earn a free kick in the 43rd minute, but the effort resulted in a routine save by goalkeeper Jackson Morgan. The Buckeyes were then almost able to level the score right before half when #21 Jacob Duska found himself open in front of the Navy goal, but senior Michael Parker was able to deal with it and preserve the first half shutout through the same physical play that he asserted throughout the match.

1-0 Navy at halftime.

In the second half, Navy continued their dominating performance. In the 57th minute, Daniel Zaremba was able to dribble into the box and find himself with a clear opportunity, but Ohio State goalkeeper Chris Froschauer was able to make the save.

Jackson Morgan was able to make a save of his own three minutes later, and an impressive one. Danny Jensen from Ohio State found himself with a wide open shot from 15 yards out, which Morgan stoned from point blank range to conserve his clean sheet. This was a clear opportunity for Ohio State to level the score, one which Morgan denied to give his team a boost in confidence and lift the home crowd.

In the 71st minute, Ohio State were reduced to 10 men when junior defender Tyler Kidwell was sent off after being given a second yellow card on a play in his own box, which appeared to be either an intentional hand ball, or a push on a Navy player.

Navy, as a result, was awarded a penalty kick. Senior Derek Vogel stepped up to take the spot kick, but shot it right at the OSU goalkeeper in a poor effort.

Daniel Zaremba was unlucky to not find the back of the net a minute later, after having a shot in the box which deflected for a corner kick.

In the 76th minute, Vogel made up for his missed PK and converted an open header for Navy’s second goal, assisted by Brock Dudley who posted his second assist for the Midshipmen.

Navy soccer vs Ohio State

Navy was able to finish off the visiting OSU side in the 82nd minute, when Thomas Shiiba dribbled through a pair of OSU defenders and finished his shot past the OSU goalkeeper to complete a dominating performance by Dave Brandt’s Navy team.

For more information on the victory, including a video interview with Thomas Shiiba, visit the official recap over at Navy’s website.

Up next, Navy will head to Farmville, VA on Friday as they take on Longwood, followed by a tough opponent the following Monday- the University of Maryland Terrapins, in College Park.