Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Back on a winning path...

Cubs collapse, DC United is collapsing, but I would rather spend a few moments tapping out a note about the Maryland-UNC Charlotte match we attended last night. Having spent the weekend in Florida, I had not read much about the Terps' opponents and, in result, was surprised to learn that Charlotte was ranked in the top 25 of men's collegiate soccer. Maryland dominated the match, but was not able to convert numerous opportunities on goal. The Terps constantly threatened with set pieces and corners, but there was underwhelming quality in the headers that met Kassel's passes into the box.

Charlotte scored first, shortly after the break, on a long ball that the 49ers' striker, Evan James, ran onto with AJ Delagarza desperately pleading with the linesman for an offsides call. James finished one of the very few chances that Charlotte had on goal with soft ball lifted over Zac MacMath. James' expert touch stood in stark contrast to Maryland's performance before the net -- Maryland's first goal, scored by Jeremy Hall, was hammered into the goal after several other thunderous touches were repelled. We walked out at the end of regular time (prior to the Terps' victory) after yet another Maryland striker attempted to score by blowing a hole through both a center half and the keeper (failing miserably).

Ultimately, what matters is that Maryland rebounded from a terribly disappointing loss to Clemson. And while I would otherwise dwell on frustration with Maryland's continued failure to convert good chances on goal, there were moments in the match, particularly in the second half, where watching Jeremy Hall and Rodney Wallace on the left flank was a thing of beauty. There are many quality players on Maryland's squad -- Kassel's great; the entire backline of captain Costanzo, Delagarza, and Gonzalez (in addition to Wallace) is impressive; freshman Kaoru Forbess is getting more playing time and making the most of it -- but when Hall and Wallace are tuned in and rolling.

Three more regular season home games left: Lehigh; Evansville; and UNC Chapel Hill.

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