MLS on Campus: The American Solskjaer at Notre Dame?

Ryan Finley - On Campus

Photo Credit: 
Matt Cashore

Welcome back to MLS On Campus, our weekly look at the goings-on in the college game. Every Monday, we'll give you the week's best highlight, the standout players, which games to watch in the week ahead and, of course, our national Top 10 list.

After all, the SuperDraft is only a few months away...

Big Men on Campus

Maryland sophomore goalkeeper Keith Cardona  The enormous netminder has had a fantastic first full year as a starter for the Terrapins, and he almost single-handedly preserved their undefeated season. A rash tackle in the box just 90 seconds from full time gave UNC a golden chance to win the match and take control of the ACC, but Cardona dove to his right and stoned Rob Lovejoy’s PK while smothering the rebound to keep it scoreless.

At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Cardona is a U-17 World Cup veteran with the United States and came through the New York Red Bulls Academy. He looks to continue the long line of Maryland goalkeeper alums that includes Philadelphia’s Zac MacMath and FC Dallas’ Chris Seitz.  

Notre Dame senior forward Ryan Finley – For whatever reason, Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark chooses to not start Finley (pictured above), leaving the prolific forward on the bench for the first 20 minutes of the match. But it’s hard to argue with what works – the senior from New Jersey came off the bench on Senior Day to score a hat trick in just 10 second-half minutes.

Finley has 14 goals in 15 matches this season, all of them as a substitute. Chances are he'll be doing the same thing – scoring big goals off the bench – in MLS at this time next year.

Rank Trending Last College Comment

1

1

Maryland
(13-0-1)

In the battle of No. 1 vs No. 2, the Terps came out on top with a thrilling 1-0 overtime win vs. North Carolina. Given the ultra-soggy conditions, the play suffered a bit for both sides, but Maryland was able to make just enough plays to keep its undefeated season alive. A tantalizing ACC Tournament is probably in the cards. 

2

3

UConn
(13-1-1)

It was senior All-American Carlos Alvarez – who else? – that came up big again for the Huskies last weekend, scoring a late game-winning goal in UConn’s come-from-behind win at Pitt. With two games left, both against lowly Providence, Alvarez & Co. look to be in great shape for a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament. 

3

4

Akron
(11-1-2)

This just in: Akron is really, really good. The Zips finally allowed a goal after more than 700 scoreless minutes, but a 2-1 win over West Virginia ensures they'll be the top seed and likely undefeated heading into the MAC Tournament. All that’s left for Caleb Porter’s men is to earn home field until the College Cup. 

4

2

UNC
(11-2-1)

It would be extremely harsh to fault the Tar Heels too much for Friday’s loss at Maryland. Having spurned multiple late chances before conceding the winner, it's certain UNC will be relishing another shot at their rivals. The big bright spot in the loss was freshman Danny Garcia, a US U-20 and FC Dallas Academy winger was a constant thorn in the Terrapins’ side. 

5

5

Marquette
(14-1-0)

The Golden Eagles didn’t suffer a bit of hangover after their perfect season was ended, bouncing back with two comprehensive Big East wins to stay atop the conference. Senior forward Andy Huftalin grabbed two more goals in the win over Pitt to pull his team-leading total to nine. Could his breakout campaign be enough to earn the plucky forward an MLS Combine invite?

6

6

Georgetown
(13-2-1)

The Hoyas were less than convincing in their 1-0 win over Providence, but yet another huge goal from Steve Neumann saved the day. The junior from Pennsylvania really doesn’t have much left to do to prove his worth to Generation adidas, and a third-straight selection to the All-Big East squad seems likely.

7

9

Notre Dame
(12-3-0)

Bobby Clark’s squad thumped Providence 3-0 to keep their hopes of a division championship alive. Two huge games with Marquette this weekend and some help from around their conference could earn the Fighting Irish a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament.  

8

(NR)

Louisville
(10-4-1)

Don’t look now, but here come the Cardinals. They've stuttered big time earlier in the season, but their four losses are an afterthought now as they’ve won five of their last six. Junior Andrew Farrell, almost identical in looks and style to D.C. United’s Brandon McDonald, has to be one of the top two or three candidates for a Generation adidas contract after yet another solid week organizing the defense.

9

(NR)

New Mexico
(12-3-0)

The Lobos are beginning to hit their stride out west, scoring an 11-0 (!!!) win over UNLV. Senior Devon Sandoval, an imposing poacher of a forward, now has 12 goals on the campaign to beat the goal-scoring totals from his last two years combined. One thing is for sure, come NCAA Tournament time, no team is going to want to come to Albuquerque.

10

(NR)

Wake Forest
(9-2-4)

The Demon Deacons have been flying along under the radar most of the season, but they’re beginning to break out in a big way. Seattle Sounders Academy sophomore forward Sean Okoli has been lighting up the ACC this season and continued his hot streak with the first hat trick of his collegiate career on Friday night against NC State. 

 

Highlight of the Week

Check out the highlights from Maryland’s big win over UNC featuring a late penalty kick save and an overtime goal from freshman phenom Schillo Tshuma.

You may feel a little bit dirty after watching New Mexico put 11 goals past UNLV, but these highlights are a good chance to get a look at forward Devon Sandoval, he’s the one that looks a little bit like Steven Lenhart with dark hair. 

What to Watch For:

South Carolina vs. Coastal Carolina (Wednesday, 7 pm ET)

Coastal Carolina is maybe the best team in the country that no one has heard of. Boasting a potential first-round draft pick in Jamaican forward Ashton Bennett, the Chanticleers are 13-1-2 and a perfect 8-0-0 in the less-than-stellar Big South Conference. Playing at a good South Carolina squad in non-conference action on Wednesday will be a great test of just how dangerous they’ll be when the tournament rolls around in a few weeks. 

No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 7 Notre Dame (Saturday, 7 pm ET)

The Big East powerhouses battle it out twice this week in games that will decide tournament byes and seeding. Saturday night’s tilt will be the final chance for both teams to shine before the Big East Tournament starts on Halloween night.