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Zags in Town

Sep 24, 2014

LOOKING AHEAD: No. 19/10 Stanford (5-1-0 overall, 0-0-0 Pac-12) concludes its five-game homestand with a Friday visit from Gonzaga (1-5-0, 0-0-0 WCC) in Cagan Stadium at 7 p.m. This stretch of five straight on The Farm rounds out the pre-Pac-12 portion of the Cardinal’s schedule. Stanford, which played its last away match at Omaha on Aug. 31, will hit the road again in its conference opener at Oregon State on Thursday, Oct. 2. One more non-conference match remains, a Friday, Oct. 24 trip to USF.

FOLLOW ALONG: Live stats will be available online at GoStanford.com. Frequent updates can also be found throughout the season by following @StanfordMSoccer on Twitter. Links to stories, photos, features, recaps and much more will be tweeted through the official Twitter page of Stanford men’s soccer. 

LOOK BACK TO LAST WEEKEND: Stanford extended its winning streak to five with a pair of 2-1 victories over SIUE and then-No. 11 Delaware. Against the Cougars, the Cardinal surrendered an early goal, but battled back in the later stages of the first half to equalize, eventually take the lead and come away winners. Trailing by the one goal in the 31st minute, Jordan Morris used an aggressive run to beat his defender to the back post and dropped off to Marshall Glover, who deposited his first career goal from the center of the box. A little over 10 minutes later, Brandon Vincent worked his way free on one of Stanford’s seven corner kicks. The economics major’s header off an assist from freshman Drew Skundrich slipped between SIUE’s Kent Kobernus and the far post (41:06). On Sunday against the Blue Hens, Ty Thompson was brought down from behind in the 53rd minute, drawing a red card and giving Stanford a man advantage the rest of the way. Eric Verso scored soon thereafter (53:43) when Brandon Vincent took the ball to the near corner. A slight hesitation gave him a window to whip in a pass to Jordan Morris, whose flick of the heel found Verso right in front to put the Cardinal up, 1-0. Delaware equalized at 56:50, but freshman Corey Baird scored the winner in the 66th, his first career goal, off another assist from Morris.

HISTORY VS. GONZAGA: Stanford is 1-1 all-time against Gonzaga, but the two teams haven’t met since 2001, a 3-0 Cardinal win at the Portland Invitational in Oregon (Sept. 1). That game kicked off a campaign in which the Cardinal went 19-2-1 and advanced to its second NCAA College Cup. The Bulldogs took the first matchup between the schools, 3-1, on Sept. 10, 1999 at Stanford.

KEEPING AN EYE ON THE POLLS: The Cardinal finds itself among the nation’s best in all the collegiate rankings, sitting at No. 19 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire rankings, No. 10 according to Soccer America, No. 15 in College Soccer News and No. 16 in Top Drawer Soccer. Stanford was picked to finish third in this year’s Pac-12 preseason coaches’ poll, garnering 18 votes and one first-place vote behind favorite UCLA (24 votes, 1 first-place vote) and Washington (19 votes, 1 first-place vote).

BEST SINCE...: Stanford’s ranking in the NSCAA poll (No. 19), the official one recognized by the NCAA, is its best since opening up the 2010 season No. 13. After making its first postseason run since 2009 last November, the Cardinal closed the year ranked 21st in the country. 

VERSO BIG IN VICTORIES: Eric Verso has played a big role in Stanford’s attack thus far, tallying a team-leading nine points on three goals and three assists. In his first two seasons, the redshirt junior totaled 23 shots and three game winners. This year he already has 15 and two.  Verso is tied for eighth in the Pac-12 in points per game and is 32nd in the nation (1.50) and tied for seventh in assists per game in conference and is 37th in the country (0.50). He is one of only seven players in the Pac-12 with multiple game winners this season.

IT’S BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE: Jordan Morris was involved in three of Stanford’s four goals last weekend and has four assists in five games played in 2014. The sophomore is 12th in the nation in total assists and fourth in assists per game (0.80). He has 11 assists in 26 career games, more than double any other current Cardinal.

YOU CAN’T WIN IF YOU DON’T SCORE: Stanford has allowed one goal or less in each game during its current five-win streak. The Cardinal has not had a longer such defensive stretch since 2010, when it did the same during a seven-game spurt in Pac-12 play from Oct. 10 to Oct. 31. 

HOME COOKING: The Cardinal is 5-0-2 in its last seven games at home dating back to last season and 14-7-3 on The Farm under Jeremy Gunn. This undefeated streak at Cagan is Stanford’s longest since it went 6-0-2 over the last two home games of the 2008 season and the first six of the 2009 slate. A win Friday would be Stanford’s fifth-in-a-row at home to open the season, something it hasn’t done since 2009.

THE MORE THE MERRIER: Eight different players have scored for the Cardinal thus far, including four who have tallied their first career goal in the early going (Corey Baird, Slater Meehan, Marshall Glover, Tomas Hilliard-Arce). Oregon State is the only other team in the Pac-12 that can make such a claim, but had just four goal scorers until a new, additional quartet emerged in an 11-1 win over Northwest Christian on Monday. Every other conference school has six different goal scorers on its roster.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Stanford’s four goals against UCSB were its most since finishing the 2012 season with a 6-1 victory at California (Nov. 9). Perhaps more impressively, each of the Cardinal’s strikes was put home by a different player and only one (Edwards) had previously had a goal to his name in 2014. Stanford last had four different goal scorers in a 4-0 win over San Diego State on Nov. 3, 2012. The aforementioned 6-1 victory against Cal featured a hat trick from Adam Jahn and an own goal.

OT DOMINANCE: Following the 95th-minute victory over Omaha on Aug. 31, Stanford has not lost an overtime game since Nov. 1, 2012 at UCLA (2-1, 2OT), a streak that is now at nine. The Cardinal is 5-0-4 in such contests over that span.

SMITH PROMOTED: In his third year on Jeremy Gunn’s staff, assistant John Smith was elevated to the position of associate head coach on Sept. 15. Since his arrival on The Farm, Smith has helped assemble significant talent and translated it into some impressive play on the pitch. The Cardinal’s most recent recruiting haul was ranked sixth in the country by College Soccer News, high praise which came on the heels of the nation’s 11th-ranked recruiting class in 2013.

#USMNT: Earlier this season, Jordan Morris missed the match at Omaha (Aug. 31) due to duties with the U.S. Men’s National Team. The sophomore forward was among 22 players called into camp by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the Sept. 3 friendly against the Czech Republic in Prague. Morris is not only the first active college player to be included on a roster under Klinsmann, but is the first such tabbed for duties with the National Team since Bruce Arena called Chris Albright, then a sophomore at the University of Virginia, for a camp preceding a friendly with Argentina in 1999. Albright didn’t play in that game and neither did Morris against the Czechs. The last current collegian to receive a cap with the U.S. was Ante Razov in 1995 against Uruguay before his senior season at UCLA.

CHANCE OF A LIFETIME: As part of the United States Men’s National Team training at Stanford in preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Cardinal men’s soccer team had the chance to wrap up its spring schedule with a scrimmage against the U.S. on May 17. Looking for match-quality tests as it readied to pare its roster down to the 23-man limit, the team reached out to the Cardinal coaching staff for a fresh challenge. It was a pleasant surprise for Stanford, as the possibility of the two sides scrimmaging hadn’t been discussed leading up to the U.S. team’s visit, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the Cardinal knew it would be crazy to pass up. The visit from the USMNT continued a trend of top national sides and clubs utilizing the top-notch facilities and environment of Stanford for training. Within the past year Stanford has hosted Italian giant and reigning Serie A champion Juventus in addition to English side Norwich City, late of the Barclay’s Premier League.

HERMANN TROPHY WATCH LIST: In early August, Jordan Morris was named to the 2014 MAC Hermann Watch List, the most prestigious individual award in NCAA soccer that presented annually to one male and one female athlete. The Mercer Island, Wash. native was also named a 2014 Soccer America Preseason Men’s All-American.