Maryland men's soccer team's loss to Wake Forest shines spotlight on defense

The Baltimore Sun

Saturday night’s 4-3 loss to Wake Forest dropped the Maryland men’s soccer team from No. 4 to No. 9 in the most recent Top Drawer Soccer rankings published Monday morning. It also made the Terps (6-3-5 overall and 4-1-3 ACC) fall from a three-way tie for first place to third in the conference.

Just as significantly, the team learned that there are some holes on defense that the coaches and players need to shore up.

“I think it opened our eyes in that we still have some work to do on the defensive side of the ball,” coach Sasho Cirovski said Monday morning. “I think it’s another reminder that we’re not there yet as far as our ability to shut people out. It brought that back to the forefront, and it’s something we’re going to work on. If we can solve that, then this game will serve a great purpose.”

Maryland surrendered four goals in less than 20 minutes in the first half to the Demon Deacons (7-3-4, 5-0-3), who moved from No. 9 to No. 8 in the Top Drawer Soccer rankings. Cirovski said he couldn’t remember the last time his team allowed four goals in a half.

“We made some errors in possession and in transition. There were some individual mistakes,” he said. “However, Wake was absolutely clinical in their finishing. I think they had five chances to score and they scored four goals although one was an own goal. So you have to give them credit, but that’s unusual. I think they were very focused. If you look at the body of work for that game, we were very good for about 65 minutes, and we missed a lot of chances in that game. I feel some solace in that we were able to play very well against a very good team for two-thirds of the game, but we’ve got to cut out the mistakes.”

The Terps face Drexel (7-5-2) at Ludwig Field on Tuesday night, but Cirovski said the coaches could implement changes on defense in time for that game. He said everything is being considered, including personnel of which freshman goalkeeper Zack Steffen, sophomore defender Mickey Ambrose and freshman defender Alex Crognale have been practically every-game starters.

“It’s not too late,” Cirovski said. “Our eyes are open, and we’re addressing those right now. We’re looking at a number of things to get better defensively.”

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