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College Cup: Previews + Predictions

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: December 6, 2012

Georgetown (19-3-2) vs. Maryland (20-1-2), December 7, 5:00 pm ET, ESPNU

How the Hoyas got here: 1-0 vs. Charlotte, 1-1 (advance on PKs) vs. Syracuse, 3-1 vs. San Diego

How the Terps got here: 2-1 vs. Brown, 5-1 vs. Coastal Carolina, 3-1 vs. Louisville

Key Players: F Steve Neumann, MF Ian Christianson, F Brandon Allen (Georgetown); D London Woodberry, MF John Stertzer, F Patrick Mullins (Maryland)

Last meeting: The two teams played in regular season action back in 2009, Maryland winning 2-1 at North Kehoe Field. The Terps are 28-0 against the Hoyas all-time.

Preview: Two teams so close to other geographically finally get to play one another on the national stage, despite being separated by no more than a 30 minute drive.

Of course, the two-time champion Terrapins have the edge in program experience, as their Hoya opponents are making a first appearance at the College Cup. Experience aside, this looks to be another quality matchup. Maryland is a team that likes to get forward in numbers, and struggles to shut teams down at times. The Hoyas will look to batten down the hatches, neutralize the Terps’ attack, and punish them on the break through forwards Steve Neumann and Brandon Allen.

Key matchup: Georgetown’s defense vs. Maryland’s offense

The most potent offense in the nation must be stopped – or at least slowed down – to give the Hoyas a chance of springing the upset. The Terps have scored in bunches all year, having never been shutout all season. Senior center back Tommy Muller and defensive midfielder Ian Christianson will particularly look to slow down the blitz led by John Stertzer and Patrick Mullins, in order to lay the foundation for the Hoyas to advance.

Prediction: Maryland 3, Georgetown 2

Indiana (14-5-3) vs. Crieghton(m) (17-3-3), December 7, 7:30 pm ET, ESPNU

How the Hoosiers got here: 4-1 vs. Xavier, 2-1 vs. Notre Dame, 1-0 vs. North Carolina

How the Bluejays got here: 4-2 vs. Washington, 1-1 (advance on PKs) vs. Akron, 1-0 vs. Connecticut

Key Players: F Eriq Zavaleta, MF Nikita Kotlov, D Caleb Konstanski (Indiana); MF Jose Gomez, F Timo Pitter, MF Andrew Ribeiro (Creighton)

Last meeting: The two teams last tussled a year ago in Bloomington, the Bluejays picking up the 1-0 win.

Preview: Both of these storied and accomplished programs knocked off some storied programs to get this far. The Hoosiers bested North Carolina, while Creighton’s advancement past Akron and Connecticut is going to breed confidence.

There’s very little to separating these two well-coached teams. Each has a star player – Jose Gomez (Creighton) and Eriq Zavaleta (Indiana) – surrounded by a solid supporting cast that has stepped up at various junctures in the year.

Expect this matchup to be somewhat low scoring, as both teams will set up to keep it tight at the back and look to press forward and exploit the other when they can.

Key matchup: Creighton’s MF Jose Gomez vs. Indiana’s F Eriq Zavaleta

These two players won’t be going up against each other directly on the field Friday night, but each plays a huge, huge part in his respective team’s offensive success. Gomez is a playmaker who has played in different positions in the attack – from forward to attacking mid – and he’s come a long way of late according to head coach Elmar Bolowich.

Zavaleta meanwhile, has commanded the attention of double and triple teams all year, yet still managed to score 18 goals in 22 games. He’s scored game winners in the last two games, but whichever played is sharper, fitter and better on the day, could very well tip the scales in favor of his team.

Prediction: Indiana 1, Creighton 0

 
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