WASHINGTON, D.C. — After the Maryland men’s soccer team failed to score for the second straight match in a draw to No. 10 Stanford on Friday, coach Sasho Cirovski vowed goals were coming soon.
The chances have been frequent in the early stages of the 2018 campaign, but the wait for the payoff continued Monday.
For the first time in program history, the Terps started a season without a goal in their opening three games after playing to a 0-0 draw against No. 7 Virginia at Audi Field, the new home of D.C. United.
The current stretch marks the longest goalless streak to start a season since 1981, when Maryland didn’t record a goal in its first two matches.
Still, the offense’s morale is high after recording 15 shots in a double-overtime game on two days of rest.
“We’re literally right there,” midfielder Amar Sejdic said. “The midfield and backline are starting to connect and when we get into that final third and we have some promising chances, it’s either one step too late or something not clicking at the moment.”
Goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair and the defense carried the Terps again to salvage a draw, posting a second straight clean sheet against a top-10 team. Their effort, despite the offensive slump, has kept Maryland (0-1-2) to just one loss in three games.
St. Clair had an uneventful night in net, not having to make a save until the 84th minute, when defender Spencer Patton’s attempted cross from outside the box wound up on goal. Virginia sent 10 shots off target.
After making six saves in the first game of the season against Washington, the redshirt junior has made only two in his last two outings — but Stanford only sent one shot on goal, and Virginia offered little going forward, either.
“To hold UVA to zero goals when they didn’t play a game on Friday … I’m very proud of the group.” defender Chase Gasper said. “I’m really proud about the whole team defending, as well as the backline.”
Meanwhile, several Terps tested Virginia goalkeeper Colin Shutler to no avail. The Terps’ best opportunity rose above the crossbar in the 66th minute, when forward Eric Matzelevich set up an open shot in the box for midfielder William James Herve. The shot rose just above the bar, and the match remained in a scoreless deadlock.
Six different Terps put shots on goal, as Maryland recorded six in the second half and overtime. But Shutler finished his night with seven saves to hold the Terps scoreless and still searching for their first win of the year.
“It’s very easy to get frustrated after a day like today,” Sejdic said. “There’s so many opportunities where it’s just a touch away or decision away from making a goal-scoring opportunity.”
Dating back to last season, the Terps have netted two goals in their last nine games. And after the last two draws, Maryland believed it should’ve won the game, but wasted opportunities in the attacking third.
“I’m still disappointed with our finishing,” Cirovski said. “We had a couple of really good looks again today. I don’t know if it’s heavy legs or whatever, but we need to start putting the ball in the back of the net.”