SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After just three days of practice Sacramento State heads to Palo Alto on Saturday to face the defending NCAA champion and preseason No. 1 team in the country, Stanford, in an exhibition game at 7 p.m.
The Cardinal went 18-2-3 last season and routed Clemson, 4-0, in the College Cup Final to win its first national championship. In the 2016 preseason National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll Stanford was picked first and garnered 20 of 24 first place votes.
"Its a scrimmage for them and a scrimmage for us but still with the name Stanford and the fact that they won the national championship last year and are ranked No. 1 in the nation in the preseason polls it's a great opportunity for us," Sacramento State head coach Michael Linenberger said.
Stanford was undefeated at home last season and is 19-1-6 in its last 26 home games. The team has a 0.54 goals against average in Laird Q. Cagan stadium since 2014. The squad did lose the 2015 national player of the year, forward Jordan Morris, who turned pro following his junior season in which he scored 13 goals.
The Hornets hosted the Cardinal in an exhibition game in 2013, and after a scoreless first half Stanford scored a pair of goals in the second half for a 2-0 win. In 2012 Stanford posted a 3-0 exhibition win over the Hornets on its home field. The teams last met in a regular season game in 2010, when the Hornets recorded a 1-0 victory in Palo Alto.
Sacramento State's second and final exhibition game, to be played Aug. 20 at Santa Clara, will also be against a tough challenger as the Broncos are receiving votes in the preseason NSCAA poll after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year (before being eliminated by Stanford).
"We are putting ourselves through a fantastic test in the preseason at Stanford and at Santa Clara," Linenberger said. "With this veteran group coming back we wanted to really put them in some tough situations early and find out where we're at."