COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski is in his 18th season as the Terrapins men’s soccer coach. During his long stint in charge, he’s produced a number of current and former MLS players – from recent retiree Taylor Twellman, to established European players such as Dan Califf and Maurice Edu, and rising MLS talents like Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza.
Focusing on the present, however, the Terrapins are ranked No. 3 in the NSCAA polls, and peaking at just the right time – winners of ten straight, including a 3-0 defeat of No. 13 William & Mary on Tuesday, Cirovski has a talented squad ready to make a run at the school’s second NCAA title in three years.
MLSsoccer caught up with Cirovski after Tuesday night’s win.
MLSsoccer.com: Your team seems to be peaking at just the right time. Is that what you’re seeing right now?
Cirovski: I think this is what I’ve always said – we want to be a team that plays its best soccer in November going into December. We’ve obviously had a great October; we were good in September, but we were exposed in some areas we need to improve on.
We used those teaching moments to get better, tougher, but this is a team that wants to start the playoffs. That’s why they’ve worked all winter and summer, and felt a little disappointed with the end of last season.
MLSsoccer.com: How important was the win over Virginia?
Cirovski: It’s a huge win. You don’t win too many times at Klockner. They’re obviously our biggest rival, and we have a great respect for them; they beat us twice last year and tied us up at our place and knocked us out of the playoffs, so to be able to go down there and get a good win and play well, it continues to build the confidence of the team — and a little bit of momentum going into the playoffs.
MLSsoccer.com: What’s the status of defender Ethan White?
Cirovski: He’s getting better. He’ll be back soon, we don’t have a timeline yet.
MLSsoccer.com: How well are Jason Herrick and Casey Townsend playing right now?
Cirovski: I think that they’d have to be among the best forward tandems in the country. They have great respect for each other, work hard defensively, and have so much quality going forward. They’re starting to zone in on their finishing right now, which was maybe not there at the beginning of the year but it’s coming together.
They’ve scored either one or both of them, every game, for the last four or five games.
MLSsoccer.com: How important is it to have multiple scoring options, and not relying on just Herrick or Townsend?
Cirovski: It’s important to have depth there, and we do. We have other guys that can step in and score from there, whether it’s Patty Mullins, you’ve got midfielders like [Paul] Torres, John Stertzer [Matt] Kassel off of set pieces.
We’re fortunate to have some depths so if someone is a little banged up, or a little out of sync, we can throw people out there.