Sports

Garcia inspires Stanford men to big home soccer victory

 

It took a little bit longer than Friday, but once the No. 25 Stanford men's soccer team started scoring it didn't stop and the Cardinal routed Omaha at Cagan Stadium on Sunday night, 4-0, in nonconference action.

Stanford's victory was made all the better because it came in front of the team's honorary captain Luis Garcia, a 17-year old battling Leukemia. Luis became a Cardinal for the day and experienced the game with Stanford in the locker room and on the bench.


Corey Baird
Stanford, coming off a 3-1 win over Harvard on Friday in which all three goals were scored in the game's first nine minutes, needed a bit more time to get going against the Mavs, but the result was the same. The Cardinal has won three straight matches and scored at least three goals in each one, something it hasn't done since 2001.

"We scored some excellent goals," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "Both teams were a bit sluggish in the first 10 to 15 minutes, but once we got passing and moving the ball quicker we looked quite sharp and that showed in the number of chances we created. And again we were rock solid at the back so it was a tremendous defensive performance to go along with a great attacking one."

Stanford outshot Omaha, 21-2, and put more than half (11) of its attempts on frame. Andrew Epstein played the first 73:24 in goal before giving way to Nico Corti, who played the final 16:36, and neither was forced to make a save. Omaha's one legitimate chance came from Xavier Gomez in the 56th minute, but was saved off the line by a Stanford defender.

The Cardinal's tandem up top combined to open the scoring in the 28th. Brian Nana-Sinkam lofted a ball to the corner for Foster Langsdorf. Langsdorf beat his man at the right edge of the box and caught Omaha keeper Joseph Ghitis in no-man's land. Corey Baird ran on to Langsdorf's cross and had the luxury of hammering home his second of the season in front of an open goal.

Baird's move up top alongside Langsdorf has coincided with Stanford's three-game winning streak and its offensive onslaught.

"They're working off each other really, really well and are communicating," Gunn said. "Friday was [also electrifying with the two of them. They have great understanding, great movement and are very difficult to deal with. Hopefully they can move forward and the other players coming off the bench will look to really push them and keep competing for time."

The Cardinal caught its second goal 50 seconds before the half when Tanner Beason intercepted a clearance from Omaha, took three touches and unleashed a rocket with his right from 20-yards out that beat Ghitis to the left post.

Stanford's redshirt freshman left back has scored his first two career goals in as many games and is third on the team thus far with six points in seven games. His work on the left side coupled with Adam Mosharrafa's on the right has solidified two spots which some considered questions heading into the season.

"Both Tanner and Adam haven't played a lot of minutes, but both have slotted in incredibly well," Gunn added. "They've defended tremendously and when we've got our foot on the ball and passed it they've joined into the attack. We lauded Brandon [Vincent for some amazing strikes in the past and [Tanner's cutting in wasn't quite as theatrical because it wasn't in the air, but it was every bit as good of a strike. He's had a great impact and is really moving forward as a player."

Stanford continued to push forward and added two more from Foster Langsdorf, who followed up his first career brace on Friday with his second career brace on Sunday.

Bryce Marion whipped one in in the 57th, which Langsdorf picked up and scored. In the 70th, Drew Skundrich arced a ball over the defense to Langsdorf running full steam past Omaha's four defenders. The junior beat Ghitis to the right to complete the rout.

The Cardinal wraps up its nonconference slate at 7 p.m. on Friday night when it makes the short journey to play at San Francisco.

— Stanford Athletics

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