#42 CSU Bakersfield Men's Soccer 2012 Preview

CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners

Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #2 Mt. Pacific
Cal State Bakersfield Men's College Soccer Team Preview
CSU Bakersfield Team Page


CSU Bakersfield is coming off of an NCAA Tournament appearance. They gave Saint Mary’s a tough game at home, but fell 1-0. The Roadrunners are poised for another quality season under Coach Simon Tobin in what will be their last in the Mountain Pacific. The Roadrunners are moving to the Pac-12 in 2013 and this is a team that is ready to make that change. With some very talented youngsters coming in this year and more recruits on the way, the future looks very promising for Bakersfield.

2011 Record: 12-4-5, 7-3-0
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Simon Tobin

The present looks pretty darn good as well. Junior forward Gyasi Zardes made a huge splash last season, scoring 18 goals in 20 appearances. The 6-1 Hawthorne, California product was mostly a passer in 2010, but he quickly emerged as one of the most dangerous strikers out West in 2011. Zardes can create opportunities on his own and the Roadrunners pretty much let him shoot at will, but the setup play of Jesus Sanchez has made Zardes’ work much easier in front of the goal. Sanchez, who netted three goals of his own, ranked second in the nation with 13 assists during the 2011 campaign. With those two back, the Roadrunners will run right through many opposing defenses. Midfielder Kory Kindle and Ernesto Hinojosa are often overlooked, but those two will score some goals and help set the table for Zardes. Zardes will just need to continue to finish, but expecting 18 more goals out of him may be asking a little too much. However, he is obviously more than capable of netting a goal every game.

The Bakersfield roster has two players listed as defenders. In reality, that is not entirely accurate as many of the midfielders are experienced defenders, but it does underscore a potential problem for this group. Scott Luedtke started 20 games last season and Justin Finch started 18 so those two are a solid duo to build around. Coach Torbin also has brought in a stellar recruiting class that includes versatile defender Oscar Sorto, who is College Sports Madness’ 20th best defensive freshmen in the class of 2012. Expect him to make an immediate impact. The talented newcomers also include playmaker Christian Duarte who may be too talented to leave on the bench. Duarte belongs in the midfield and that would force somebody else to drop back in defense. But that should not be a big issue as this is a team that has a lot of versatility in the back. The return of keeper Eric Shannon is certainly a good thing, but he was not tested much last season. The Roadrunners ranked 23rd in the nation in goals allowed and 22nd in save percentage. However, they ranked 118th in saves per game. Shannon could be tested more often this season while the defense retools.

Final Projection:
But Shannon may not be tested that much either since this is a team that can take care of the ball. The old saying that the best defense is a good offense certainly holds true here. Shannon is a fine keeper with a boatload of experience anyway. Even if the opposition fires more shots his way, Shannon will be ready. And in many cases it will not matter anyway. Instead of winning 3-0, the Roadrunners may give up an extra goal and win 3-1. Yet, eventually that would catch up with Bakersfield and the defense will need to be ready to help out Shannon as much as possible.

Projected Postseason: None

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Gyasi Zardes, Junior, F, 18
Assists: Jesus Sanchez, Senior, M, 13
Shots: Gyasi Zardes, Junior, F, 117
Saves: Eric Shannon, Senior, GK, 75