With IU men’s soccer starting 2-0 for the first time since 2012, the competition will begin to intensify at the Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic this weekend.
Four top-25 teams will be in Bloomington as No. 5 IU plays No. 22 California on Friday and No. 15 Stanford on Sunday. No. 4 Notre Dame will also be in attendance to take on the West Coast schools.
“These guys are so excited to play in front of their fans, and one of the things they really want to do is take this home field and really make it a special place,” IU Coach Todd Yeagley said. “These are two incredible opponents, but they’re up for that and excited.”
Senior midfielder Tanner Thompson was named the Big Ten offensive player of the week and Top Drawer Soccer’s national player of the week coming off his two-goal performance last weekend in two wins against New Mexico and UC Irvine.
Thompson will now look to lead IU past California first after the Golden Bears had a 1-0-1 opening weekend.
Preseason All-Pac-12 selection Nick Lima scored twice for California in its first win of the year against Penn State after drawing against St. Mary’s in the season opener.
Unlike IU, which has senior goalkeeper Collin Webb inked in to start every game, Cal’s goalie situation is in flux. After allowing two goals in the season opener, freshman goalkeeper Drake Callender was replaced by sophomore Jonathan Klinsmann, who received the starting nod against Penn State as well.
“Cal is a really good attacking team,” Yeagley said. “They’re going to be very fluid, and we’ll have to be aware of creativity off the dribble. They have some guys that can break you down. This team is a handful, but we’ll be ready for that.”
For the Hoosiers, Yeagley said he was pleased with the shape and overall defensive principles that his club possessed. But both he and Thompson said they would like to see the simple decision-making and passing get better in the upcoming weekend.
“Hopefully the team can play better as a whole and focus on our passing because I know this last weekend was not up to par with where we want to be at,” Thompson said. “But the bottom line is we came out 2-0 so it doesn’t matter in hindsight so it’s a good thing.”
IU will face reigning national champion Stanford on Sunday to end its tough slate against West Coast teams before heading into Big Ten play. The Cardinal fell back to 15th in the rankings — despite starting No. 1 in the preseason — after its two ties in the opening weekend of play.
Stanford lost a handful of top contributors off last season’s NCAA Championship team including MAC Hermann award winner forward Jordan Morris. Morris is now playing in the MLS with the Seattle Sounders while the Cardinal also lost Pac-12 defensive player of the year Brandon Vincent.
Even with Stanford losing key pieces from the national title team, California native Thompson said he knows what the competition will be like for IU.
“It’s always fun. My brother played at Stanford so there’s a little family thing going on there,” Thompson said. “Any California schools I know a lot of people from out there so it’s always a good time playing them.”