It’s Indiana vs. Stanford for the National Championship

The last step on the Indiana University men’s soccer team’s quest for a ninth national title begins at 1:00 on Sunday at the College Cup in Philadelphia.  The match will be broadcast on ESPN2.  The task will be tall as the Hoosiers will face the two time defending national champion Stanford Cardinal.  2 seded Indiana is the only undefeated team in the country at 18-0-6, while the 9th seeded Cardinal stand at 18-2-2.  Indiana advanced to the final by defeating North Carolina 1-0, while Stanford defeated Akron 2-0.

The final is a match between perhaps the two best defensive teams in the country.  Indiana has allowed .233 goals per game (first in the country) while Stanford allows .401 (second in the country).  Indiana goalkeeper Trey Muse tied the NCAA freshman record with his 18th shutout on the season against North Carolina.  A review of the statistical profile of these two teams illustrates that they are nearly a mirror image of one another:

INDIANANat'l RankValueSTANFORDNat'l RankValue
Assists Per Game (205 ranked)142Assists Per Game (205 ranked)22.68
Corner Kicks Per Game (205 ranked)37.25Corner Kicks Per Game (205 ranked)395.64
Fouls Per Game (205 ranked)2610.17Fouls Per Game (205 ranked)4610.77
Points Per Game (205 ranked)136.08Points Per Game (205 ranked)56.95
Red Cards (81 ranked)Red Cards (81 ranked)
Save Pct (205 ranked)10.912Save Pct (205 ranked)20.89
Saves Per Game (205 ranked)1842.58Saves Per Game (205 ranked)1383.32
Scoring Offense (205 ranked)172.04Scoring Offense (205 ranked)82.14
Shots Per Game (205 ranked)217.29Shots Per Game (205 ranked)316.91
Shots on Goal Per Game (205 ranked)27.79Shots on Goal Per Game (205 ranked)97.05
Shutout Percentage (203 ranked)10.75Shutout Percentage (203 ranked)20.682
Team Goals Against Average (205 ranked)10.233Team Goals Against Average (205 ranked)20.401
Total Assists (205 ranked)548Total Assists (205 ranked)259
Total Goals (204 ranked)549Total Goals (204 ranked)647
Total Points (205 ranked)5146Total Points (205 ranked)4153
Won-Lost-Tied Percentage (205 ranked)10.875Won-Lost-Tied Percentage (205 ranked)30.864
Yellow Cards (205 ranked)19814Yellow Cards (205 ranked)18418

The lone common opponent on the season was San Francisco, which Indiana defeated 5-1 and Stanford defeated 1-0.  According to iuhoosiers.com, Sunday’s match will mark the ninth matchup in the series, and Indiana currently holds a 4-1-3 advantage.

The match appears destined to be a defensive struggle where the first defensive mistake might make the difference.  A scoreless tie that goes to penalty kicks is certainly not out of the question.  In any event it is a classic matchup between two elite programs that could go either way.  Go IU!

Photo credit – (Photo: James Lang, USA TODAY Sports)

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