CHESTER, Pa. — A two-goal performance by senior striker Patrick Mullins proved the difference on Friday night, as the Maryland Terrapins booked a place in the national championship game against Notre Dame (Sunday, 3 pm ET, ESPNU) with a 2-1 win over Virginia.
The Terps drew first blood in the 11th minute, winning the ball deep in their own end before Mikias Eticha flighted a long ball directly into the path of a breaking Mullins, who lofted a fine finish over the head of Virginia ‘keeper Calle Brown.
Mullins made it a brace in the 76th minute after sophomore midfielder Tsubasa Endoh sent in a superb cross from deep in midfield, taking one touch and calmly slotting away his finish past Brown.
Virginia got a goal back one minute later after New York Red Bulls Academy product Dan Metzger took down sophomore forward Marcus Salandy-Defour, leading to a Todd Wharton penalty. But Maryland was able to hold off the Cavaliers to book their ticket to Sunday’s final against Notre Dame, the sixth in program history.
Virginia nearly came up with the equalizer in the first half after Maryland goalkeeper Zack Steffen gave up a juicy rebound off Real Salt Lake Homegrown Jordan Allen’s close-range strike, but Salandy-Defour whiffed on his attempt and junior midfielder Eric Bird couldn’t put a follow up on frame.
The pressure continued into the second half, but Virginia sophomore and Philadelphia Union Homegrown Darius Madison was denied by the post twice in the 49th and 65th minutes, his first attempt barely redirected onto the frame after Steffen let it go through his hands.
Maryland could have doubled their lead in the 48th minute when sophomore striker Schillo Tshuma played Mullins into the box for a one-on-one with Brown that the reigning Hermann Trophy winner fired over the crossbar, and though Virginia sophomore midfielder Brian James forced Steffen into a spectacular diving save in the 87th minute, ultimately the Cavaliers couldn’t make the Terrapins pay.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Patrick Mullins||The captain just can’t stop scoring, netting his 17th and 18th goals this season with some classy finishing. If there was any doubt that he was a top-5 pick before, there is absolutely none now|
|2||Tsubasa Endoh||We can’t overemphasize how pretty the crafty Japanese midfielder’s cross to Mullins on the second goal was, but even before that it seemed like every time Endoh touched the ball good things happened for Maryland|
|3||Darius Madison||The pacy, dangerous forward was taken out of the match for stretches because of Maryland’s ability to keep possession, but when he got the ball, he always looked like a threat to score, and was probably slightly unlucky not to|