Champions League matches abounded yesterday: a squad from a little Romanian town went to Ibrox and embarrassed the SPL; mighty Barca was humbled by Rubin Kazan; Anfield saw a massive upset in extra time as Ligue Un giants Lyon took the EPL down a notch; and late goals in Group H gave Olympiakos three points and, in the other match, insured a split between Arsenal and Alkmaar. Meanwhile, on another side of the world, in the In Name Only Champions League played in CONCACAF, DC United failed to insure an advance out of the group stages by managing only a draw away at Toluca (I am typing this while watching Metapan-Dynamo, one of the worst soccer matches I have ever witnessed -- all those United fans who rant about Emilio's diminished effectiveness should check out Brian Ching's inept performance turned in tonight). None of that, however, distracted me from Maryland's home game against Seton Hall.
We learned midweek while in Florida that Alex Lee had been hit by a car while walking in Dupont Circle. Considering the extent of Lee's injuries, the games probably are not that important in perspective. Nevertheless, Maryland's response to Lee's individual tragedy was to go out and beat Georgetown and Clemson away. Tuesday night's game against another Big East opponent was their first at home since Lee's injury and Alex was supposed to be in attendance.
Only a little more than 500 people showed up to see Seton Hall break a deadlock in the 22nd minute. Giovanni Zammiello was given a lot of time on the ball to square up a shot. It is a testament to how impressed I have been with Ethan White that, at first, I thought he just wasn't on the field as I was certain that he would never let a player be that open without a tough, physical challenge.
The Terps response was fantastic. Kwame Darko, the fifth year senior who will replace Lee, threw his body dangerously in the air to win a poorly cleared 50/50 ball that set Drew Yates free in the box to slot home the equalizer. Darko risked serious injury on the play, but demonstrated that Maryland wanted a result more than their opponents (the Crew, often confused when not directing puerile insults at opposing teams, chanted Drew Yates' name, in recognition of the beneficiary of Darko's hard work).
Maryland took the lead on something that has been a long time coming: a Terp converting on a one on one opportunity against the opposing team's keeper. Jason Herrick beat Paul McHenry when set free by a ball from Matt Kassel. The opportunity was there and Herrick made the most of it.
Maryland again dominated in shots taken -- 19 to Seton Hall's 9 -- but, last night, managed to put three into the net.
Two huge matches coming up: Wake Forest away on Saturday night and back home a week later against Virginia.
Get well soon Alex.