Michael Brady headed in a goal at 57:49 to lift American University over Maryland, 1-0, in college soccer yesterday at American.
The Eagles, ranked second in the South-Atlantic region behind Virginia and as high as 12th in one national poll, raised their record to 2-0. But they left Reeves Field pondering how easily those rankings might have been jeopardized by a revitalized Maryland (1-1) team.
"It was a very different story," said Brady, comparing this year's win with last season's 3-0 victory at Maryland, in which he scored three times in the first half. "A lot must have to do with the new coach," Brady said. "Obviously they brought in some new talent, too. They outran us and they outworked us. I was very impressed. I knew they'd be good, but I didn't expect this."
Brady broke the scoreless tie in the second half when he converted a cross-field pass at the far post from freshman midfielder Adrian Gaitan. Just before, Gaitan had narrowly missed scoring off a pass from Brady. But aside from those two opportunities, the Eagles had only a few good chances.
Part of the reason was Maryland freshman Michael Collins, who guarded Brady tightly throughout the game. "I was trying to get to the ball before him," Collins said. "I can't really say I was successful because he scored a goal."
Under Alden Shattuck, the Terrapins' first-year coach, the team showed marked improvement with Collins and others like freshman Gino Ferrin, who took three of Maryland's seven shots.
"They have better organization," American Coach Pete Mehlert said.
At the half, each team had four shots; the Eagles finished with eight and Maryland had seven. Dom Macina made five saves for the Terrapins and Stephen Pfeil had four for the Eagles.
But the difference might have been Brady. "He put pressure on the whole team," Shattuck said. "If a guy doesn't track his man, Brady will find him."
Frequently, Brady played the ball to Troy Regis and Fernando Iturbe. One of the Eagles' best opportunities in the first half came when Iturbe beat two men along the goal line and passed to Steve Marland, who was 15 feet in front of the net. But Marland's shot went wide left.
"This match had some of the sloppiness of an early season match," Shattuck said. "But it was pretty much what you would expect from two of the best teams in the region . . . As advertised, American's an excellent team."