Playing under the lights of Cagan Stadium, No. 25 Stanford men’s soccer (3-1-3) displayed two electric performances this weekend, decisively defeating Harvard (2-2-2) 3-1 on Friday and shutting out Omaha in a 4-0 rout on Sunday. Junior Foster Langsdorf recorded the first two braces of his career — one in each game. This marks the first time since 2001 that the Cardinal have won three consecutive matches while scoring 3 or more goals in each.
Stanford scored 3 times in the opening 10 minutes of the match against Harvard. This was a welcome result for the Cardinal (2-1-3), who played their most complete game of the season thus far. The defending national champions have tied three of their last five games, with no goals scored in two of those matches. This time around, Stanford controlled the rhythm of the game in an impressive offensive outing.
Right from the start, Stanford’s offense put the onus on the Crimson defense. A Stanford ball to Foster in the opening minute led to a penalty after Harvard’s Tyler Savitsky took down Langsdorf inside the 18-yard box. Sophomore defender Tanner Beason then slotted the penalty home in the lower left corner. It was Beason’s first goal as a Stanford player.
Beason’s goal opened the floodgates. A challenge by Langsdorf in Harvard’s defensive third just five minutes later forced the ball back to goalkeeper Kyle Parks. In a lapse of focus, Parks’ first touch got slightly ahead of him. The junior was unable to cut away from Langsdorf’s incessant pressure and the ball bounced away from the goalie. Langsdorf was able to make the difficult finish on his next touch, putting the Cardinal up 2-0.
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Langsdorf wasn’t done yet. Just three minutes after netting his first goal, he forced another yet another penalty on the left side of Harvard’s 18-yard box. The energetic forward was chasing down a ball from junior midfielder Drew Skrundich when goalkeeper Parks clipped him in the right corner of the box in an attempt for the ball, resulting in Langsdorf’s second penalty. He put the penalty kick to the left of Parks for a 3-0 lead that the Crimson would not overcome.
The Cardinal, who had been unable to replicate the offensive rhythm of the national championship campaign of last season, put together their most dominant half of the season. Stanford held a 14-3 shot advantage at halftime. With this result in the books, the team has now scored 7 times in its last two games.
The Crimson played a more composed second half, stringing plays together through the midfield at various points in the period that they had been unable to make in the opening half.
Senior Jake Freeman put a penalty past goalie Andrew Epstein following a handball by Stanford in the 80th minute, scoring his second goal of the season for Harvard. Freeman finished with 2 of Harvard’s 3 shots on goal.
Stanford’s midfield appeared to click much more in mounting an offense than it has in recent games. Junior midfielder Corey Baird was able to set the tempo for much of the game. The timing of his runs and his pressure on the ball alongside Langsdorf led to many of Stanford’s chances in the second half. Additionally, the Cardinal looked comfortable building up an attack through solid midfield passing and by utilizing both sides of the field.
In Sunday’s matchup, Stanford outshot Omaha 21-2 and neither of the Cardinal goalkeepers ever needed to make a save. Langsdorf kept his hot streak alive, notching his second career brace as he scored the last two goals of the game.
Stanford will look to keep up its momentum as it finishes its non-conference slate against San Francisco on Friday at 7 p.m.
Contact Irving Rodriguez at irodriguez ‘at’ stanford.edu.