Men's Soccer 2012 Preview
Aug. 24, 2012
The Oregon State men’s soccer team will take the pitch for the first official match of the 2012 campaign tonight when the Beavers host Sacramento State at 7:00 p.m. Expectations for the team are high, and the team’s performance in two preseason games did nothing to dampen that outlook.
The Beavers hung tough with the Portland Timbers Reserves, losing 2-1. The difference came on a penalty kick late in the second half to give the Timbers Reserves the victory. Last week, the Beavers earned a convincing 3-1 win over a very good Div.-II team, Simon Fraser. The Clan had an undefeated regular season in 2011 on their way to a No. 1 ranking.
With the real season kicking off in just a few hours, head coach Steve Simmons sees many reasons to be positive for Sacramento State and beyond.
“If we are able to do the things we’re supposed to do, we’re going to be pretty exciting,” Simmons said. “We have a good amount of depth that can come in and put in a good shift.”
Much of that excitement stems from the group of forwards the Beavers will put forth in 2012. Senior Emery Welshman scored goals in both preseason matches and led the team with 13 points last year. Just behind him in points scored was fellow senior Roberto Farfan. He had 10 points and tied for the team lead with four goals.
Farfan will attack from the left side, and his strength lies in being able to take defenders one-on-one. Simmons noted Farfan’s improved play on the defensive side that should make him a more formidable two-way player in his final season. And with this being his final season of college soccer, Simmons knows that Farfan and the other seniors will leave it all on the table.
“For all the seniors, there’s a kind of finality that puts an exclamation point on the urgency required,” he said.
Freshman Mikhail Doholis has shown flashes during preseason. He’s somewhat further along than many other first-year players because he enrolled early and had the winter and spring to adjust to college soccer.
“Coming in early really gave him a chance to iron out things that most freshmen do in August and September,” Simmons said.
In the midfield, sophomore Will Seymore has improved greatly and has shown great confidence at the beginning of his second season. Joining Seymore are newcomers like freshman Bjorn Sandberg and transfer Jackson Groves. A pair of international finds, Sandberg joins the Beavers from Sweden while Groves comes from the University of Adelaide in Australia.
“They’ve been around the park, and they know that we have a lot of talent,” Simmons said of his veteran defenders. Brenden Anderson and Travis Anderson (no relation) are two other defenders who will make an impact.
Those strong defenders will complement the Beavers’ young keepers. Redshirt freshmen Matt Bersano and Andrew Glaeser join true freshman Tyler Patterson in manning the goal. Despite their young age, Simmons has little doubt that the team trusts those guys.
“The keeper is the eyes and ears of the backs,” Simmons said. “When you have a keeper behind you that you instinctually trust with information, which just makes the confidence level of a back line go through the roof.”
The Beavers have a formidable schedule, with a handful of teams ranked in the preseason polls showing up on OSU’s slate. It’s a schedule that Simmons knows his team can handle and thrive against. If things fall properly, the non-conference portion of the schedule will serve as a warm-up to a successful Pac-12 season.
”These games going into our conference schedule should prepare us for October, and if we do the job we need to do, they’ll prepare us for beyond October.”
Looking beyond October to postseason play is the end goal for this Beavers team, and the journey to that goal begins tonight against Sacramento State at Paul Lorenz Field at 7:00 p.m.