Widgets Magazine

Men’s soccer prepares for defensive showdown against San Diego State

No. 16 Stanford men’s soccer (6-2-3, 3-0 Pac-12) returns home to Cagan Stadium after success in the Pacific Northwest to take on No. 25 San Diego State (6-2-3, 1-1-1) on Thursday night. The Cardinal are back in the rankings in the 16th spot because of three straight 1-0 victories over conference opponents.

After a slow start to start the season, the defending national champions appear to have found their footing coming into Thursday’s game, thanks to a tough Stanford defense that has yet to allow a goal in conference play.

However, Stanford’s offense may struggle generating scores against a tough San Diego State defense, which is nationally ranked second in goals against average (0.43) and fifth in shutout percentage (0.64), respectively. The Cardinal will need to lean on leading goal-scorer Foster Langsdorf to break through the suffocating defensive line to find opportunities for goals.

Stanford junior keeper Andrew Epstein was named Pac-12 Player of the Week, after totaling two clean sheets against conference opponents last week. This is his second Player of the Week award of his career. Epstein has lowered his goals against average from 0.93 to 0.68 and is ranked 32nd nationally.

Most recently, the Aztecs lost a 1-0 game to No. 19 UCLA, but overall the team has had a promising start to the season. The last time San Diego State had an 11-game record comparable to this year’s record was in 2011. The Aztecs defense has carried the team thus far. With decent contributions from the offense, San Diego State is looking to add a second conference victory to its record.

Stanford has dominated conference play under head coach Jeremy Gunn with a record of 24-11-8 and has been practically invincible at home with an 18-game unbeaten streak.

The clash of ranked teams will pit gritty defense versus gritty defense and will be another barometer for Stanford’s quality. Head out to Cagan Stadium at 7 p.m. on Thursday to cheer on the defending national champions. The match will also be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.

 

Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu.