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Men’s Top 5 Matches to Watch: Aug. 31

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: August 30, 2018

There are several interesting games on the docket in the men’s DI season this weekend. Check out the top fives games to watch (all times listed EST).

Friday, August 31

No. 2 Stanford (0-0-1) at Maryland (0-1), 6 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)

The three-time defending champions head to Maryland for a Friday night matchup that will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1. It’s a chance for the Terps to pick up some momentum after dropping their season opener last Friday on the road against Washington. The team’s attack must come together against a Stanford team that’s always difficult to breakdown. The Cardinal went scoreless last weekend against San Jose State through a combination of errant finishing and good goalkeeper. Amir Bashti will get his first big test on the road as he looks to play a big part in the attack.

Prediction: Stanford 1-1 Maryland

UC Santa Barbara (2-0) at Portland (1-0-1), 10 p.m. (wccsports.com)

The Gauchos looked revitalized – through just two games – and get a significant test of that claim on the road against Portland. Carter Clemmensen made a big impact from the bench in his first two games in college soccer for UCSB, and he should form a dangerous tandem with Rodney Michael. The Pilots offer plenty going forward, whether it’s Rey Ortiz or Benji Michel, and are going to be a tough team to defeat at home.

Prediction: Portland 2-1 UC Santa Barbara

No. 21 California (2-0) at Pacific (1-1), 10:30 p.m. (WatchStadium.com)

The Pac-12 should be much deeper this season and incredibly competitive. California got its season off to a promising start with two wins from its first two home games and will look to keep rolling on the road. A big key for the Golden Bears is in the goal-scoring department after losing Sebastian Soto to a pro deal. Incoming freshmen Ian Lonergan and J.J. Foe Nuphuas make it an impressive team defensively, so finding some help for Shinya Kadono is crucial. WCC side Pacific can pick up a marquee win in this one and will trust leaders Wouter Verstraaten and Tariq Branche to make a big difference.

Prediction: California 1-1 Pacific

Saturday, September 1

Pittsburgh (1-1) at No. 2 Akron (0-1-1), 7 p.m. (ESPN+)

Another ACC test arrives in Akron after the Zips lost 2-0 to a solid NC State squad. With so many new faces in Akron, it’s not a huge surprise to see the team start slow as they look to configure their attack around sophomore forward David Egbo. Pittsburgh, which is rapidly improving under head coach Jay Vidovich, is going to look to come away with a famous win in this one. Forward Edward Kizza scored a hat trick in a Monday matchup against Delaware, and he’s one of a handful of players that have shown that they can make an impact.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 2-2 Akron

Sunday, September 2

Connecticut (2-0) at No. 3 Indiana (1-1), 8 p.m. (BTN2go.com)

A challenging start to 2018 continues for the Hoosiers, which hosts UConn on the back of a Friday night match against Dartmouth. While the IU defense looks as stout as ever, a big question at this point of the season is unlocking their options in front of goal. Justin Rennicks and Griffin Dorsey look useful, but their ability to be elite in front of goal is going to be pivotal in determining how good the team will be this season. Connecticut opened up with a pair of home wins, and like IU, faces a tough test on Friday against Notre Dame. There’s a lot to like about the Huskies, whether it’s senior forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam, defenders Jacob Hauser-Ramsey and Dylan Greenberg, or freshmen Ibrahima Diop and Steffen Yeates. This weekend is going to provide a look at how good the Huskies are now and just how good they can be this season.

Prediction: Indiana 1-0 Connecticut

 
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