#SundayGoals men's soccer preview: California at Stanford
Who: California at Stanford
On the call: Mark Rogondino and Chris Sullivan
On the home side: Stanford (3-2-3)
Sunday will mark the 58th time Cal and Stanford will square off in the history of their illustrious rivalry. The match will open conference play for both teams who'll be eager to get off on the right foot.
Sunday will have an unfamiliar feel for the Cardinal: They’ll start conference play as an unranked team for the first time since September 9th, 2014, a span of 753 days. After a shaky 0-1-3 non-conference start, the men from The Farm found their stride, winning three straight against the likes of San Jose State, Harvard and Omaha before falling last week to San Francisco.
Cardinal to watch:
Foster Langsdorf: The junior forward has been nothing short of sensational with his team-leading six goals this season. Langsdorf is experiencing quite the spike in productivity this season, as he’s only one goal shy of his career high for a season tally at seven. His six goals this season are good enough for second in the Pac-12, and 18th in the nation. It’s safe to say Langsdorf is doing his part in filling the shoes of last year’s MAC Herman Trophy winner Jordan Morris.
Drew Skundrich: The junior co-captain has seen a huge spike in offensive production since being moved to the position of central midfielder. In his first eight games this season, he’s recorded three of his first career goals. It’s safe to say the position change has worked out nicely for the man who was such a vital part of the Cardinal championship run in 2015.
Andrew Epstein: The redshirt junior goalkeeper is working his way into the history books. His 15 career solo shutouts are only two shy of tying Chris Helling for sixth in Cardinal history. His career goals against average (0.77) currently sits second to Adam Zapala’s 0.63 mark from 1997-2000. Look for Epstein have a big game against a Golden Bears squad that’s had problems finding the back of the net against tougher opponents.
On the visiting side: California (4-2-1)
On the other side of the bay sits a Cal team that posted a 4-2-1 record in non-conference play. After an unpromising 1-2-1 start to the season, the Golden Bears will come into Sunday’s matchp in the midst of a three-game winning streak.
Golden Bears to watch:
Christian Thierjung: The senior forward played the role of hero last Saturday, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime to help the Bears get their first win of the season against a ranked opponent, No. 13 UC Santa Barbara. Thierjung leads the nation in goals per game (1.14) and also leads the Pac-12 in goals with eight. Thierjung also notched player of the week honors back on September 20th, 2016.
Nick Lima: Second on the team in points with eight, the freshman forward has wasted no time in making key contributions to the Bears' offensive attack. Lima scored the pivotal second goal in the 86th minute that would eventually help the Berkeley boys upset No. 13 UC Santa Barbara.
Jonathan Klinsmann: Son of U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the sophomore goalkeeper also played a big role in the team’s upset of the Gauchos. Klinsmann will need to be in peak form if his Bears want to walk away from The Farm on Sunday with a victory.
Stories to watch
Sunday will feature two of the Conference of Champions’ top scorers in Foster Langsdorf and Christian Thierjung. These forwards seem to find the back of the net when it matters most, so look to these two in the latter part of Sunday’s game to see if either can replicate previous heroics.