Maryland men's soccer midfielder/defender Andrew Samuels is "improving day to day" after knocking heads with a UCLA player in the 73rd minute of Friday's 3-2 win against the Bruins, Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski said Monday.
The junior was inactive for Monday's 1-0 win against Cal Poly, but the team is "hopeful" he'll be available "later in the week," Cirovski said. No. 5 Maryland (4-0) opens conference play against No. 4 Indiana (4-0) on Friday.
Less than a minute after Maryland took a 2-1 lead Friday, Samuels rose for a header around midfield. UCLA midfielder Anderson Asiedu also went up for the ball, and Samuels' forehead appeared to contact the back of Asiedu's head.
Samuels immediately fell to the ground with his hands on his head, and the referee stopped play. The Tampa, Florida, native remained on the ground for about two minutes as a member of the training staff wiped his hand and head.
With blood dripping down the side of his neck, which was visible to Big Ten Network cameras, Samuels walked to the locker room holding a towel to his forehead. After the game, Cirovski said Samuels received stiches.
"He got banged in the eye area," Cirovski said Monday. "That's all we'll say."
Samuels played as a substitute in Maryland's first three games and averaged 42 minutes per appearance, including his playing time in the injury-shortened UCLA game.
Last year, he played in all 21 of the Terps' games and made 13 starts. Cirovski described him as "Mr. Versatility" and said he is an "extremely valuable member" of the team.
"I call him a starter on this team, it's just a matter of, 'Which one of five positions will he play on the day?'" Cirovski said Friday.
Samuels entered Friday's game as a defender and moved up to midfield as Cirovski continued to make substitutions.
"It's too bad he got hurt, because he was really playing at a high level today," Cirovski said. "He's playing a big role this year."