Men's College Cup: Maryland triumphs with fifth straight shutout

Fifty years after its first (shared) national championship, Maryland won the 2018 NCAA Division I men's title with a 1-0 win over Akron in the Men's College Cup final on Sunday.

The Terrapins shut down the high-scoring Zips, who had combined for eight goals in the quarterfinals and semifinals but were held to two shots on goal in the final. Maryland finished with shutouts in all five games to capture its fourth title and first since the great team of 2008 with Omar Gonzalez, Graham Zusi, A.J. DeLaGarza, Rodney Wallace and Zac MacMath.

The 2018 team might not have the same number of pro prospects -- the college game has changed a lot in the last decade -- but junior defender Donovan Pines, a product of the D.C. United academy, has drawn lots of attention with his play against the nation's top strikers. Amar Sejdic, a product of the Real Salt Lake youth system, scored the winning goal in the 57th minute from the penalty spot and had a great tournament as an attacking midfielder.

Maryland had the better of play in the second half and would have won by a bigger margin, but Akron defender Daniel Strachan headed a shot by Chase Gasper off the line three minutes before Sejdic's penalty kick, and keeper Ben Lundt stopped a second penalty kick by Sejdic, the College Cup's Most Outstanding Player, in the 76th minute.

The penalty kicks were the first taken all season by Maryland, which didn't score a goal in its first four games and finished with only 30 goals in 23 games.

"I could not be more proud of this group," head coach Sasho Cirovski said. "We talked about this being a big moment for our program. They were pushed and hardened after a challenging schedule. And now, they're jewels. I am incredibly happy for them."

The title was the third for Maryland under Cirovski.

Dec. 9 in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Maryland 1 Akron 0. Goal: Sejdic pen. 59.
Maryland -- St. Clair, Pines, Bergmann, B. Di Rosa, Gasper, Sejdic, Samuels, Bin, Crognale, Herve, Elney. Subs: Reeves, Matzelevich, Lansade, M. Di Rosa.
Akron -- Lundt, Ritaccio, Milanese, Strachan, Mohamed, Harter, Hackworth, Biros, Tojaga, Egbo, Zajac. Subs: Hernandez, Kahsay, Micaletto, Pacheco, Watters.
Att.: 4,858.
6 comments about "Men's College Cup: Maryland triumphs with fifth straight shutout".
  1. frank schoon, December 10, 2018 at 6:50 a.m.


  2. Wooden Ships replied, December 10, 2018 at 8:18 a.m.

    Congrats there alum. Any chance the high foot could have resulted in an indirect free kick in the box? 

  3. frank schoon replied, December 10, 2018 at 9:19 a.m.

    Ships, I've haven't the game, yet. I will watch it this morning.

  4. frank schoon replied, December 10, 2018 at 10:55 a.m.

    Ships, just saw the high kick in the face. I don't like giving a penalty in an important game like  this and I don't think the play would have resulted in was poor defense on the Akron defender for he didn't even have to do this;he could stopped or prevented in another way. But you know what, I can't argue with the call, these things happen. It is a good question whether it could have been an indirect, but then again it is a blatant foul in the penalty box and that means a  penalty. That is how Sacho would argue if a penalty weren't is a shame it was like that....

  5. frank schoon replied, December 10, 2018 at noon

    Looking at it again..the poor defender never saw the Maryland player coming and therefore raised his foot  to the ball....This was unfortunate and perhaps they should have called an indirect....But it  took me several tries watching video. I can't really blame the ref for this...

  6. George Kirchner, December 10, 2018 at 10:08 a.m.

    I agree with Wooden Ships; it seemed like a dangerous play to me and should have resulted in an Indirect Free Kick, not a PK.
    Also, why was a Akron player allowed to wear a gold necklace? Should have been a yellow card for jewelery but he still had it on in the 2nd half. 
    I question PRO Referees officiating the College Cup when NISOA Officials have been doing the job all year. This was a real plumb in years past to be assigned to do the College Cup but no more.

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