#4 Maryland vs. Stanford-Preview

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The #4 Terps will be looking to show some East Coast hospitality Friday night when the team hosts the Stanford Cardinals from the PAC-12.

Maryland is riding a 2-0 start for the first time since the 2006 season, defeating St. Johns and #17 West Virginia with explosive second halves: the Terps outscored both teams 6-0 after halftime. The team finds themselves near the top in every ACC category, including goals scored, shots, and points; all encouraging signs to see this team carry on the offensive firepower of last year’s squad.

It remains to be seen if the Terps can shed the label of a “second half” team and put together a full game. Against West Virginia the team played a much better first half than in the opener but was marred by the soft goal they allowed in the sixth minute.

“We were just talking about, maybe we are going to be a second half team this year, but we don’t want to do that, we want to put a full game together,” said Patrick Mullins after the team’s 3-1 win over WVU. “But looking back on it I’d rather be the second half team than a first half team.”

After making strides in the first half against the Mountaineers, Maryland will be looking for further improvement in the first half against a Stanford team that doesn’t really intimidate.

Stanford is coming off a season opening 1-0 loss to Santa Clara where the Cardinal dominated most of the game but failed to act. Santa Clara scored in the 35th minute.

The Cardinals had high hopes for their squad in 2010 after making it to the third round of the NCAA Tournament and returning a slew of key players from the previous season. But the squad struggled, dropping their first four games and missing the Tournament with an 8-10 (4-6 PAC-10) record and a fourth place finish in the PAC.

The 2011 squad resembles a new mix up of the 2010 team: veteran players in new positions with new starters being broken in.

Losing both their top scorers from last season, Stanford starts two juniors, Adam Jahn and Dersu Abolfathi, who will carry the goal load. The duo scored six goals last year between them.  But the Cardinals struggled heavily to score last season, only netting 21 goals. West Virginia, a defense first team, netted 34 by comparison. The Terps D, which looked a lot more confident against WVU can afford to be more aggressive against this anemic front line.

Stanford’s defense is a lot better than their offensive counterparts, led by co-captains Tommy Ryan and Hunter Gorskie. But with new pieces being placed at the right back and fourth defender I expect the defense to still be trying to find their bearings. If Townsend and Mullins can set the pace for the attack early like they established against WVU, it will be a long night for the Cardinal’s backline.

Opponent’s Record: 0-1(0-0)

Terp’s Record: 2-0(0-0)

Where: Ludwig Field (College Park, MD)

Time: 7:30 pm

Media: Listen Live at wmucspots.com and the game will be broadcast nationally on the Fox Soccer Channel.

Prediction: In the nicest way possible I simply think the Terps will be too much to handle, offensively and defensively, for Stanford. I see another high scoring game for Maryland, a 3-0 win with Sunny Jane, John Stertzer and Patrick Mullins finding the net. And I will go out and say the Terps will score in the first half.

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