Men's Soccer Opens Home Slate with Michigan State, Southern Methodist
Harvard is looking to extend its home-opener win streak to eight games (Gil Talbot).
Harvard opens its 2012 home schedule by hosting Michigan State in a non-conference matchup Friday afternoon, before welcoming Southern Methodist for a 1 p.m. game Sunday. With two road games already under its belt, it marks the first time since 2008 that the Crimson has opened the season away from home.
Lights, Camera, Action
For the first time program history, the Harvard men's soccer team will offer live video streaming for all home games at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium. Single game access is available for $9.95 a game and a season pass is $29.95. Further information about video streaming for Harvard men's soccer and other Harvard athletic programs is available at GoCrimson.com.
First Time Foes
The Crimson and Spartans will be facing off for the first time ever in Friday's contest. Michigan State represents just the second Big Ten opponent ever for Harvard. The squad last faced a Big Ten opponent in 1991, falling to Indiana, 4-0.
The Harvard-SMU matchup is also a first for both programs. The Crimson has never faced off against a Conference-USA opponent. In fact, this weekend marks the first time Harvard will play a team from either Texas or Michigan.
Home openers have been a specialty for Harvard in recent years. Since 2005, Harvard has gone undefeated in home openers, recording a perfect 7-0-0 record and outscoring opponents 21-5 in those games.
The men's soccer class of 2016 features seven newcomers, including two goalkeepers, two midfielders, two forwards and a defender. Through two games this season, five freshmen have seen field time for the Crimson.
Scouting The Crimson
Harvard enters Friday's contest with an 0-1-1 record on the season. In its season opener, Harvard rallied from a goal down to tie Massachusetts, 1-1, in Amherst, Mass. Sophomore forward Hiroki Kobayashi curled a left-footed shot into the opposite upper 90 from 20 yards out in the 22nd minute to notch the first goal of the season for the Crimson. In its last game, Harvard saw a late goal by host Northeastern prove to be the game-winner in a 1-0 loss to the cross-town rival.
Freshman goalie Evan Mendez has been solid for the Crimson through two games, bringing a 0.90 goals-against average into the matchup with the Spartans. Mendez has recorded eight saves in two games played this season.
Scouting the Spartans
Michigan State brings a 1-2-1 overall record into today's match and will be playing just its second road contest of the season. MSU's lone win came against Bowling Green Aug. 29, where a goal and an assist from senior forward Domenic Barone powered the Spartans to a 2-1 victory. In its most recent action, Michigan State fell to No. 5/1 Connecticut, 1-0, on Labor Day.
Barone leads the team in points with three (1g, 1a), while Adam Montague also has a goal on the season. Goalie Bryce Dobbins has played every minute for MSU and enters the Harvard game with a 0.69 goals against average and 11 saves.
Scouting the Mustangs
SMU enters the weekend still in search of its first victory, posting an 0-2-1 record through three games. The Mustangs will take on Dartmouth Friday before facing off against the Crimson Sunday.
After playing Campbell to a 1-1 tie in its opener, SMU dropped contests to No. 4 South Florida (1-0) and No. 3 New Mexico (3-1). Leobardo Vazquez leads the team in scoring with three points on a goal and an assist while Eddie Puskarich has also tallied a goal on the season. Tyler Engel and Brenden Lee each have an assist so far this year. Jaime Ibarra has played every minute in goal and brings a 1.55 goals against average and 22 saves into the weekend.
Harvard wraps up its three-game homestand Sept. 14 as it welcomes No. 4 Connecticut for a 4 p.m. contest. The Crimson will face the Huskies at Ohiri Field, the lone home game at Ohiri on the 2012 schedule.