As Maryland men’s soccer prepares to defend its national championship, the team announced its 2019 schedule Wednesday, headlined by games against College Cup foes Indiana and Akron at Ludwig Field, and a game against Virginia at Audi Field in Washington D.C.
Coach Sasho Cirovski once again compiled a difficult schedule for his team to tackle, as the 17-game slate features seven opponents that appeared in the 2018 NCAA tournament, including the three teams that joined the Terps in the College Cup.
“I am thrilled to announce our challenging and exciting 2019 schedule,” Cirovski said in a release. “After our tough slate last season prepared us well for a postseason run, we once again will face a quality slate of opponents.”
The season gets underway with a Friday home game against USF on Aug. 30 before the team makes the short trip to D.C. United’s Audi Field to play Virginia on Labor Day for the second consecutive season — a matchup that ended in a scoreless draw last year.
After those first two games in the area, Maryland will play in Los Angeles on Sept. 6 for its annual rivalry game against UCLA, where the Terps will be looking to avenge a 1-0 home loss to the Bruins in 2018.
One week later, Cirovski’s squad will return to Ludwig to host Akron, the team it defeated 1-0 to claim its fourth national championship in program history.
Maryland will travel to a second Major League Soccer venue — the Philadelphia Union’s Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania — to play Villanova on Sept. 16.
Big Ten play will begin on Sept. 20 with a fixture against Northwestern at home, before a nonconference game at Ludwig against St. John’s three days later.
The first Big Ten road game of the year will be at Wisconsin on Sept. 27. Then the Terps will quickly return home for games against Rutgers and Cal State Fullerton in a stretch of two games in four days starting on Oct. 2.
Six days later, the defending national champions will play another of last year’s semifinalists in a matchup against Michigan State on the road. Maryland lost 2-0 in last season’s regular-season meeting with the Spartans before beating them 1-0 in the Big Ten tournament semifinal.
After taking on Georgetown on Oct. 14, the Terps will face Indiana — the third of last year’s College Cup teams on the schedule — at Ludwig Field on Oct. 18. The two teams played three times in 2018, battling to a 1-1-1 series draw, but the Terps’ lone win was a 1-0 victory that ended the Hoosiers’ season in the College Cup.
The final non-conference game on the regular season schedule will be against Yale at home on Oct. 21. Maryland ends the regular campaign with three consecutive conference games — on the road against Ohio State on Oct. 25, at Penn State four days later and back at Ludwig Field for the regular season finale on Nov. 3 against Michigan.
The Terps lost many of their starters from a season ago to MLS and other professional leagues. The team will need to find replacements for key players such as midfielder Amar Sejdic — last year’s leading goal scorer — forward Sebastian Elney, defender Donovan Pines and goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, among others.