The Maryland bench erupted with noise.
Rutgers midfielder Thomas DeVizio had just put in a hard foul right in front of the Terps’ dugout — earning him a straight red for his troubles.
But what should have been a turning point for Maryland instead was a missed opportunity in an afternoon full of them.
The Terps tallied 15 shots, and held a lot of the possession, but couldn’t covert. And they were made to pay, being deposited by a more clinical Rutgers side, 2-0.
“The effort was much better than last Saturday,” coach Sasho Cirovski said. “But the execution in the final third was really lacking.”
Maryland conceded early in the first half, but managed to stay in the game for the rest of the period. It could have been worse at halftime for the Terps, as Pablo Avila missed a penalty in the 20th minute.
After DeVizio was sent off in the second half, Maryland appeared to be back in the game. However, Rutgers added another — sending the Terps back to College Park with their third straight loss.
“Throughout the whole 90 minutes, I thought the whole team gave everything they had,” midfielder Malcolm Johnston said. “Today just wasn’t our day.”
Rutgers applied pressure early. Jackson Temple, Rutgers’ top scorer, made headway down the right, whistling a shot wide of the post.
And the Scarlet Knights made good on their early advantage. Welshman Ritchie Barry finished off a rebound in the ninth minute, handing Maryland its second early away deficit of the season.
The Terps responded with a more direct offense, though. Ben Bender forced a save out of Oren Asher. Paul Bin had a dig that sailed over the bar.
Still, Rutgers had most of the play through the first 20 minutes — tallying seven shots and forcing Jamie Lowell into three saves in the opening exchanges. In the 20th minute, Nick Richardson fouled Barry in the box, right in front of the goal. However, Avila missed the ensuing penalty, keeping the score at 1-0.
Cirovski’s squad created more towards the end of the half, with Brayan Padilla and Brett St. Martin having attempts, but couldn’t find the net.
“We pressed, had two or three really great chances to score, but didn’t capitalize,” Cirovski said.
So, the two sides went into the break with Rutgers leading. They combined for 13 shots in the first half, with Barry’s goal giving the Scarlet Knights a narrow lead.
But Maryland was handed a lifeline early in the second half. DeVizio put in a hard challenge right in front of the Maryland bench, and was promptly shown a red card, putting Rutgers down to 10 men for the last 40 minutes.
Maryland enjoyed a good spell following the sending off. The Terps saw more of the ball, and created opportunities. Padilla couldn’t convert in the 60th minute, though, firing over the net from close range.
“I think we just have to be more more lethal in there,” Padilla said.
Rutgers made Maryland pay for its missed opportunity, though. Richardson picked up a yellow card for a foul just outside the box. And Barry curled a left-footed free kick into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Just two minutes later, Rutgers had a chance to make it three, but Lowell denied Avila from the penalty spot — his second missed chance of the day from 12 yards.
And Maryland went quietly from there. It notched eight more shots over the final 25 minutes, but its offensive struggles were clear to see. And although Scarlet Knights goalkeeper Oren Asher was called upon to make a pair of saves in the game’s final 10 minutes, Rutgers was fairly comfortable on the day.
All that amounted to yet another disappointment for coach Cirovski’s squad, which suffered its third straight loss and second straight shutout. Now, Cirovski and the Terps look to dust themselves off and find a way to overcome their offensive woes.
“Nobody likes the position we’re in right now. But we file this, we move on, get ready for the next one,” Cirovski said.