Maryland went down in College Cup, but a few of their draft prospects did well against Georgetown.
The star of the show for Maryland was undoubtedly junior attacker Patrick Mullins. Already a top candidate for a Generation Adidas offer as well as a MAC Hermann Trophy finalist, Mullins is the biggest name for the Terps and he showed why in their biggest game of the year. The Louisiana native had a goal and two assists cycling between playing as a striker and at left midfield in Maryland's 4-4-2, and converted the third penalty kick for Cirovski's side.
Those numbers are impressive, but it was the nature of his performance that will catch the eyes of coaches around MLS. Mullins used his alertness and coordination to create both assists on headers, scored his goal in classic poacher's style by following up a shot off the crossbar from right back Mikey Ambrose, and set up a slew of chances for his teammates throughout with some precise crossing out wide. Mullins also created chances for himself on the turn, and was denied more than once by some heroic defending from Georgetown. Capping off a great season with a game like this, it's hard to see Mullins dropping out of the top 5-7 selections in Indianapolis.
Mullins was greatly helped by the play of freshman forward Schillo Tshuma, who scored twice after Mullins had set him up. Tshuma is more likely than not to remain in school for at least one more season, but MLS coaches will be itching to select him whenever he does leave College Park.
Tshuma's pace and trickery jumped out against the Hoyas as they did all year, but a key part of his game that goes unmentioned at times is that he's simply more alert than your average college freshman. While his 20th minute goal benefited from a missed offside call, it also came because Tshuma anticipated the flick-on from Mullins before anyone in the Georgetown defense did, including goalkeeper Tomas Gomez.
Naturally in any 4-4 game, the defending was suspect. Maryland has two defenders getting attention in this draft class, but neither stood out on the day. Senior center back London Woodberry - a likely target for a Homegrown contract with FC Dallas - struggled with an illness in the days before the game, and over the first half hour was a step behind just about every Georgetown attack. Woodberry didn't look physically troubled so much as he was unable to anticipate quickly enough, and on four separate occasions in the opening half-hour was beaten after stepping to the ball a moment too late to actually intercept or make a tackle.
Following Steve Neumann's two-goals-in-two-minutes outburst in the first half, Maryland huddled up on the field and Woodberry seemed to step his game up. From that point on the McKinney, TX native was more often than not the player trying to make up for the mistakes of his fellow defenders, and Woodberry came up with several big tackles to snuff out dangerous moves forward from the Hoyas.
Senior left back Taylor Kemp also started the game poorly, but unlike Woodberry never really rebounded. The Hoyas got their first goal after Kemp turned the ball over and then failed to mark Tyler Rudy, who came in from the right to nod down a cross for Neumann to finish. The Hoyas had lots of success attacking Kemp with the right-sided combination of Rudy and right back Keegan Rosenberry, and Georgetown's high pressure also caused Kemp to send numerous long balls to no one in particular.
That said, Kemp tried to make up for his defensive problems by contributing to the attack. Crosses from Kemp were crucial to the second and third Maryland goals, and he also got forward to involve himself in the move that created Tshuma's opener. Kemp was more likely a Supplemental Draft selection due to a stronger than usual crop of left backs, and today's performance likely did him no favors given that many MLS coaches treat attacking fullbacks as an extravagance.
So the attackers were good and the defenders weren't. What about Maryland's top midfielder? Senior John Stertzer, playing more as a #8 than at the point of a diamond, had a mixed performance. On the positive side of the ledger, Stertzer prompted the move that became the opener for the Terps and created three or four chances with incisive passing, and also made a key interception in the first half defensively.
On the other hand, he disappeared for long stretches, and it would be fair to say that Georgetown's Joey Dillon and Ian Christianson won the central midfield duel with Stertzer and Dan Metzger on the balance of play. Metzger in particular had a nightmare of a game, and his struggles probably forced Stertzer to do more defending and less attacking than we're used to seeing.
MLS coaches will be interested in Stertzer's discipline - he's the rare college player that really gets how to play simply without playing too conservatively - and his goal-scoring ability, but unfortunately today he was not afforded the best platform to show those skills off. One game will not see him fall too much, but Stertzer may be more of a borderline first round/second round pick than a lock for a first round selection if his Combine showing isn't strong.