Vincent, men’s soccer set to face SDSU with UCLA looming

Oct. 8, 2014, 10:41 p.m.

The Stanford men’s soccer team will come home on Thursday to face the Aztecs of San Diego State at 6 p.m. at Cagan Stadium. The matchup will pit against each other two teams coming off tough losses to top-ranked opponents.

The Cardinal are coming home from a 3-1 loss to Washington in Seattle on Sunday night. San Diego State will head north after it scraped with the No. 2 RPI-ranked UCLA Bruins for the better part of 90 minutes, only conceding just before the close of the first half. It would be San Diego State’s only real lapse over the course of the game, as Aztec goalkeeper Adam Allmaras was named Man of the Match after he recorded four saves in impressive fashion. The Aztec defense held down an explosive and dangerous UCLA attack — which unleashed 12 shots with five on goal — an offense that has been one of the best of the country thus far.

The 65th-ranked Aztecs, once ranked as high as 27th in the NCAA’s RPI rankings, will come to Stanford desperately needing a win after taking one win out of the last four games. San Diego State’s losses include a defeat at the hands of UCSB, whom the Cardinal defeated 4-1 at home on Sept. 9. Make no mistake: San Diego State has the ability to shut down the most talented teams in the nation and has done so routinely. It has conceded more than one goal only four times this season and has given up more than two goals just once all year long in a 4-3 win over then-No. 19 Denver.

Aztec keeper Allmaras has been at the back of these impressive defensive showings and is rapidly making a name for himself as one of the conference’s best in a league loaded with talent. But it isn’t just SDSU’s defense that has been impressive this year; Stanford’s back end is one of the best in the nation in its own right. Until Sunday night, the Cardinal had given up 0.75 goals per game and had not allowed more than one goal since the regular season’s start against Creighton.

While it’s not entirely accurate to use common opponents as a litmus test, if anything can be extrapolated from both Stanford’s (4-1 win) and San Diego State’s (1-0 loss) games with UCSB, it’s that the match will contrast the dynamic Stanford attack against the stout defenders of SDSU. The Cardinal offense has been effective in every game it’s played since the opener at Creighton, scoring two goals or more in six of their nine games and averaging an outstanding 1.89 goals per game.

Stanford men's soccer captain and Junior defender Brandon Vincent (above)
Stanford men’s soccer captain and defender Brandon Vincent (above) is averaging a point per contest through nine games this season, having netted four goals and assisted on another. (SEAN CHRISTOFFERSON/The Stanford Daily)

Tuesday night should be a good trial for the Cardinal, who are coming off their worst loss of the year in Seattle. They will face a highly motivated San Diego State team, which needs a strong victory to stop a 1-3 slide that saw them slip from 27th to unranked in three games. San Diego State should be encouraged by its gritty loss to No. 2 UCLA, and the Aztecs’ physical defense and aerial attack has kept its games close.

Stanford gets the chance to reinvigorate its offense against a team that has allowed 0.8 goals over its last five matches. After that, the Cardinal will get their own chance against the second-ranked Bruins at home on Sunday, Oct. 12, making Tuesday’s match even more important as a bounce-back game.

Junior defender Brandon Vincent will try to continue his blistering pace; the back has scored in two consecutive games to become the leading Cardinal goal scorer with four in nine games. Vincent has stepped in admirably to take on a scoring role, but the Cardinal have struggled to find a consistent presence in front of goal since losing senior Eric Verso for three games.

SDSU will give Stanford a chance to try and find their footing offensively and prove that the UW game was a defensive aberration against the best side in the nation playing at their best. The game will see two of the best goalkeepers and defenses in the nation face off.

The game against SDSU will be played at Cagan Stadium tonight at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.

Contact Nicholas Radoff at nradoff ‘at’

Nic Radoff '15 is now officially from Oakland and is a proud to be a history major and a Latin-American studies minor. Nic was a staff writer for women's soccer and follows football extensively, whether his editors let him write about it or not. He is a proud member of the men's club lacrosse team and invites you all to come watch most Saturdays, even though you might not see him on the field much. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking with his husky Artoo, lamenting his A's and maintaining that things get better with age.

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