On Friday night, for the first time in three weeks, defender Chase Gasper warmed up just like the rest of his Maryland men’s soccer teammates.

The last time the senior was seen on the field, on Sept. 10, he assisted on the Terps’ first goal of the season in a 1-0 win over West Virginia. Since then, he had missed the last four games nursing a back injury he suffered in the victory.

Despite his return to the field appearing more imminent since his injury was announced, Gasper didn’t wind up playing in the team’s 2-0 loss to No. 13 Michigan State on Friday night, one the Terps admittedly needed him back.

“He would’ve been very valuable in this game but wasn’t quite ready yet,” coach Sasho Cirovski said. “We need him on the field. He brings a warrior mentality.”

Maryland has now allowed six goals in five games without its starting left back on the field. The Spartans were able to take advantage of unnecessary fouls while Gasper, a typical on-field leader, inches closer to a return.

An early foul by Maryland midfielder Eli Crognale gave the Spartans a free kick that set the tone for the rest of the game, one in which Crognale was eventually dismissed from after receiving a red card in the second half.

The ensuing free kick was far away from goal, but the Spartans were able to convert just 15 minutes into the contest. The ball was played into a large scrum of players into the box, where it deflected off Spartans defender Patrick Nielsen and into the back of the net.

“Today, for the first time in a little while, I thought we lacked some discipline in our defending,” Cirovski said. “Their first goal came off a foul that does not need to be committed.”

The goal marked the first time since the season opener on Aug. 24 that the Terps conceded in the first half.

While the team’s shot totals were even at the half, Maryland was fortunate not to go down two goals right before intermission.

Gasper’s temporary replacement, sophomore Matt Di Rosa, fell as the Spartans swung another cross into the box in the 43rd minute. Maryland goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair made a difficult save from close range, getting just enough of a piece of the ball to to send it off the post.

The Terps came out aggressive in the second half, searching for an equalizer that never came in front of 3,145 fans at Ludwig Field.

Crognale was issued a yellow card in the 74th minute and again less than four minutes later to result in his ejection. Now playing a with a one-man advantage, Michigan State capitalized to put the game away.

Following a blocked shot, Michigan State forward Farai Mutatu dribbled the ball from his own half all the way into Maryland’s box, where he lasered a shot into the top of the net. The goal came just two minutes after Crognale’s departure.

The red card was Maryland’s first of the 2018 campaign after only have one in the previous three seasons. Crognale will now have to miss Monday’s game against Georgetown, and the Terps are already committed to cleaning up sloppy play after Friday’s poor display.

“We know what happened. We know our mistakes and what we did,” forward Sebastian Elney said. “We’ll work on it, stay tuned, stay focused and just not let it happen again.”

The late strike solidified the loss for Maryland, which falls to 1-4 this season against ranked opponents. The Terps defense cracked at home again, but help should be on the way, as the absence of their senior captain defender is nearly over.

Cirovski wants to put Gasper through a couple of “tough” training sessions before reevaluating him, but is optimistic he’ll be back soon.

“[Chase] is a leader for us, a warrior for us back there,” midfielder Andrew Samuels said. “Every time he’s on the field everybody raises their game. It’s going to be great having him coming back.”