Maryland men’s soccer’s suffered a precipitous drop in the latest United Soccer Coaches Poll on Tuesday, falling from No. 3 to No. 24 in the latest edition following its second consecutive loss.
The Terps began the season with the No. 1 preseason ranking in the land, but fell to the third spot last week after dropping a Labor Day match to Virginia. The slide down the rankings — the largest of any team this week — was furthered along with the 3-2 loss to UCLA on Friday night.
Before the season, when Maryland had the top-ranked distinction, coach Sasho Cirovski conceded that the preseason rankings are largely based on what happened in the prior campaign. Instead of focusing on being the top-ranked team, the veteran coach wanted his team to embrace a mission of chasing another title, rather than defending the 2018 crown.
That quest seemed to be heading in the right direction with a 1-0 win over USF in the season opener, a match in which the Terps took the role of the aggressor. But Maryland has since been somewhat derailed with back-to-back losses to rival opponents in the Cavaliers and Bruins.
The Terps are the only team with a losing record to remain in the top-25 rankings — but the quality opponents in those losses likely has an influence.
Cirovski’s squad will look to regain its form against Akron on Friday night at Ludwig Field. The matchup against the Zips represents a national championship rematch that was drawing attention ahead of the season with both teams ranked inside the top three.
But the game has lost some of its notoriety with Maryland’s skid and Akron’s 0-3 start, which dropped the Zips out of the poll entirely.
Beginning with Akron, the Terps will play the next four games at home. The match against Villanova on Sept. 16, the second of the homestand, was originally slated to be played at Major League Soccer’s Talen Energy Stadium, but was recently moved to Ludwig Field.