By Adam Zundell for CollegeSoccerNews.com
The Stanford Cardinal, fueled by star Jordan Morris, exploded for three goals in the second half against Clemson to take a 4-0 victory and claimed the 2015 NCAA Men's Soccer championship.
Unfortunately, on college soccer's biggest stage, the quality soccer that does in fact exist in the college game was not on display. Both semifinal games were not only scoreless, but also simply not sharp, crisp, clean or creative. This was somewhat to be expected in the Clemson/Syracuse game where the teams were familiar with each other, their personnel, spead and tactics. The absence of attacking opportunities in the Akron/Stanford game was a bit more disappointing because of all of the talent on the field and the style the teams employ.
On Friday night, the man that stole the show was Clemson keeper Andrew Tarbell. Tarbell was outstanding both in regulation and in penalties to help the Tigers advance to the final. In the other game, Akron twice had victory on its foot, but was unable to convert. ESPN's Taylor Twellman didn't get a ton right on Friday night (calling Akron coach Jared "Embrick" instead of Embick), but his point on short run-ups for some of the Akron players appeared to be spot-on.
Sunday was all about Morris. His early goal proved to be all that the Cardinal would need, but he put another one away and drew the penalty on the third. Clemson could just never seem to get much connected out of the midfield forward, and were lacking in the final third of the field. However, one has to wonder if the penalty would've been called on Stanford keeper Andrew Epstein late in the first half, if the complexion of the game would've changed. Of course, soccer is full of those "what if" scenarios that can lead one to wander down a plethora of outcomes.
At the end of the day, through it all, Stanford is very much a worthy champion. The Cardinal had a terrific 2015, and knocked off several of the top teams on its way to the title, notably a road win at Wake Forest and the 4-0 triumph over Clemson in the final. The College Cup didn't produce championship quality soccer, but it did produce a quality champion in Stanford.