Maryland men’s soccer held a two-goal lead at halftime and was 45 minutes away from its first Big Ten victory of the season.
After a dominant first half against Michigan State, the second half was the opposite. In the 77th minute, the Terps’ two-goal advantage disappeared.
Jeremy Sharp lofted a cross into the box. As the ball floated in the air, Spartan defender Jonathan Stout jumped alongside his teammates and Terp defenders. It was Stout who leaped the highest.
Stout headed in an equalizing goal for Michigan State as Maryland men’s soccer remained winless in the Big Ten after drawing the Spartans, 2-2, on Sunday in East Lansing.
Maryland’s late game collapse prevented the Terps from earning three points in the conference standings. Instead, coach Sasho Cirovski’s squad only earned one and stayed rooted at the bottom of the conference table.
“Very disappointed to only get a tie out of this game,” Cirovski said. “We were forced to defend almost the entire [second] half, and you have to credit Michigan State to find a way to get a couple of goals.”
The Terps (3-6-3, 0-4-2 Big Ten) pressured the Spartans (6-0-6, 2-0-4 Big Ten) early in the second minute of the match.
Kimani Stewart-Baynes raced to the endline and sent a low pass into the box. He picked out Stefan Copetti, but the senior forward had no angle to shoot on goal.
Copetti kept possession in the attacking third, recycling the ball into another dangerous position with Kento Abe on the right sideline. The fullback put in a cross near the penalty spot where Luke van Heukelum was waiting, who scored the opening goal for Maryland with a glancing header.
In the 17th minute, Stewart-Baynes sprinted down the left sideline again.
He made a move with the ball at his feet, gliding past Michigan State’s Will Eby into the penalty box. But instead of crossing the ball like he did earlier in the game, Stewart-Baynes took a shot.
Spartans goalie Zac Kelly made a save, but spilled the ball. Max Riley took a one-touch shot that nestled it into the right corner of the net to give the Terps a 2-0 lead.
Michigan State’s best opportunity of the first half came by way of a free kick in the 28th minute. Sean Kerrigan’s set piece rose toward Mikah Seger’s upper right hand corner, but too high to stay under the crossbar. Kerrigan nicked the frame of the goal and Michigan State failed to score in the opening half.
The Spartans controlled the play in the opening 15 minutes of the second half and finally found their opening goal.
Jack Zugay won possession in the attacking third, playing a quick through ball into the path of Jake Spadafora. The pass split Bjarne Thiesen and Luca Costabile to spring Spadafora in on goal.
The forward struck a shot first time, keeping it low to the ground. The strike slid past Seger to get the Spartans on the board for the first time in the 59th minute.
“Throughout most of the first half we kept the ball, but then … fatigue set it,” Cirovski said.
Michigan State continued to push for a second goal.
First it was Eby. The Spartans defender found space inside the box following a corner, but blazed a shot too high and over the bar.
Then it was Zugay. Linking up the Spadafora, the midfield dribbled into the box and got a shot away towards goal, but Thiesen came across at the last second to block the ball away from danger.
As the pressure mounted, Maryland eventually conceded. Stout’s header in the final 15 minutes earned Michigan State a draw, denying the Terps their first Big Ten win of the season.
“‘The little things that we needed to do, to sustain possession, to clear the ball in our box. We just didn’t get it done,” Cirovski said.