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 highlights, 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
Marquette redshirt junior goalkeeper Charlie Lyon – If Marquette eventually live up to their billing as a darkhorse contender for the College Cup, you can thank former Chicago Fire Academy product Charlie Lyon for helping the Golden Eagles bounce back from a terrible opening weekend.
After allowing five goals in their first two games, Marquette notched a 3-0 win over Bowling Green and a 4-1 victory over Drake, with Lyon notching nine saves in total. If nothing else, the results will give the Golden Eagles some much-needed confidence for their tough trip to Ann Arbor, Mich., next weekend.
Loyola sophomore forward Larry Ndjock – Ndjock’s hat trick in Loyola’s 5-3 win over La Salle last Wednesday – the Greyhounds’ first of the season – probably would have put him on this list all on its own. Rather than rest on his laurels, however, the German-born striker followed up by scoring the lone goal in Loyola’s 1-0 win over Saint Francis.
Loyola are unlikely to receive much attention on the national stage this year, but Ndjock was playing for the Philadelphia Union’s PDL affiliate, Reading United, in the US Open Cup against the New York Red Bulls as recently as May 29, and has spent time in the academy systems for Hertha Berlin and FC St. Pauli. Even if you’re not watching him, you can bet scouts will be.
UMBC senior forward Pete Caringi III – Scoring two-goals in a game is an impressive accomplishment for a striker, but we may have to start inventing new adjectives to describe what Caringi is doing for the Retrievers.
In UMBC’s four regular season games so far, Caringi – who plays club soccer for the Baltimore Bohemians, D.C. United’s PDL affiliate – has recorded four braces. His latest victims, St. Francis Brooklyn, fell to the Retrievers 3-1 on Sunday.
1) North Carolina, 2-0-1 (Last Week: 3)
The Heels’ ACC opener didn’t go exactly as they had hoped, giving up the game-tying goal to Notre Dame late in the second half. Still, the defense proved that they are the real deal – Boyd Okwuonu is certainly the best defender in the country, at least – and Tyler Engel has proved he’s a legitimate goal scoring threat.
2) Creighton, 3-0-0 (Last Week: 8)
Another week, another huge jump at No. 2. It’s hard to argue with the Bluejays’ record, though. They’re undefeated, have conceded just one goal, and have notched wins over No. 14 Tulsa and a Cal Poly team that just went on the road and beat down UCLA.
3) Connecticut, 2-0-0 (Last Week: 4)
The Huskies, predictably, took care of business against Boston University on Friday, with junior transfer Edir DaGraca scoring a first-half goal in a 1-0 win. UConn have lived up to expectations so far, undefeated and yet to concede a goal, but their run of games against cupcake teams ends on Tuesday when they host No. 19 Washington.
4) New Mexico, 2-0-1 (Last Week: NR)
We slept on the Lobos on the assumption that they wouldn’t be able to replace Blake Smith and Devon Sandoval, they wouldn’t adjust well to their new home in Conference USA with Tulsa, UAB and Charlotte, and that they’d fall victim to a tough schedule. So far, at least, New Mexico have made us look dumb.
5) Akron, 3-1-0 (Last Week: 6)
The Zips had a mixed road trip this weekend, losing to St. John’s 2-1 in double overtime and beating Rutgers by the same score. The loss against the Red Storm looks worse than it was, however; Akron had two good penalty shouts turned down, and looked the better side for most of the game. With so many other top 10 teams falling this weekend, the Zips move up one spot.
6) Georgetown, 2-2-0 (Last Week: 1)
Losing at home to New Mexico in double overtime is a tough result to swallow, but it’s not all doom and gloom for the Hoyas. Sophomore hitman Brandon Allen finally got off the schnide in a 3-0 win over West Virginia, and they’ve still conceded only three goals through four games.
7) Notre Dame, 1-0-2 (Last Week: NR)
Notre Dame’s record is, at first glance, sort of pedestrian. On the other hand, those two draws were a 0-0 result against UCLA and 1-1 with UNC. It’s a tough conference, but the Irish have proven they can hang around with the big kids on the playground.
8) UCLA, 1-1-1 (Last Week: 2)
What happened to the Bruins? After scoring a 1-0 road victory over Indiana in their first weekend, UCLA went home and promptly got whipped 3-0 by Cal Poly. The Bruins suffered in the absence of center back Joe Sofia, who was serving a red card suspension, but it’s such a Jekyll and Hyde turnaround that you almost have to believe it was a fluke.
9) St. Louis, 3-0-0 (Last Week: 9)
The Billikens flexed their offensive muscle for the second week in a row, following up a three-goal performance vs. Oral Roberts by putting up a four-spot on Cincinnati. SLU had to suffer through a nail-biter with NIU on Sunday, but eventually came through with a 1-0 win in double OT.
10) California, 3-0-0 (Last Week: NR)
The Golden Bears left it until very late against San Francisco this weekend as freshman Christian Thierjung scored the winner with just 19 seconds left in regulation. That said, Cal already have two signature wins through three games, and have a great opportunity on Friday at Penn State to prove they can be consistent.
Maryland’s weekend started with a bang, earning a 3-1 win over Duke in their ACC opener in front of a record crowd of 8,397 at Ludwig Field. It was a good night for everyone. Well, except for the students whose bleachers collapsed beneath them.
Indiana have now lost three straight games in overtime, including this one to the No. 18 UAB Blazers on Friday.
What to Watch for:
Connecticut vs. Washington, Tuesday, 7 pm ET
Washington are 3-0-0 this season and have recorded back-to-back 4-1 wins with the help of Taylor Peay (four goals). It’s a long road from Seattle to Storrs, though, and it ends with the best goalkeeper in the nation and a defense that hasn’t conceded a goal all year.
North Carolina vs. Maryland, Friday, 7 pm ET (watch on ESPN3)
There are actually a lot of good all-ACC matchups happening this weekend, but this one comes first, and it may be the best of the bunch. For all of Maryland’s struggles this year, they’ve yet to score less than two goals in a game. North Carolina, on the other hand, have not allowed more than one goal in a game. The Terrapins have the reigning Hermann Trophy winner in Patrick Mullins. The Tar Heels have Boyd Okwuonu. Let the games begin.