Road to Talen Energy Stadium: NCAA men's soccer tournament down to final 8

Cam Lindley - University of North Carolina - Chicago Fire academy

A mix of underdogs and traditional powers highlight the quarterfinal survivors of the NCAA men’s soccer tournament, as the hunt for a place at the 2017 College Cup at the Philadelphia Union’s Talen Energy Stadium has ticked down to the final eight teams.

Back-to-back defending champions Stanford are still in the mix to defend their title after a 2-0 win over Coastal Carolina, with Portland Timbers academy product Foster Langsdorf scoring the game-clinching goal.

The Cardinal will visit top-seeded Wake Forest in a quarterfinal clash on Saturday, with the winners punching their ticket to Chester, Pennsylvania. Wake earned their spot by defeating Butler 2-0, on the strength of goals from FC Dallas alum Brandon Servania and MAC Hermann Trophy contender Jon Bakero.

NCAA royalty North Carolina will also battle for a College Cup spot thanks to their 2-0 defeat of SMU, with Chicago Fire academy products Mauricio Pineda and Cam Lindley (pictured above) influential for the Tar Heels. UNC will meet Cinderella story Fordham in the quarterfinals, after the Rams edged Duke in a penalty-kick shootout after equalizing in the 87th minute for a 2-2 draw. It’s the first time Fordham have reached a tournament’s elite eight in any men’s sport.

Akron, the program that put Caleb Porter on the map, are also one step from College Cup after a golden goal from New Zealander Stuart Holthusen earned them a 3-2 overtime win over Wisconsin. The Zips will duel Louisville in an Ohio-Kentucky border clash on Sunday after the Cardinals beat Colgate 2-0 via goals from Walker Andriot and Real Salt Lake academy alum Tate Schmitt.

The final quarterfinal matchup features Big Ten brethren Indiana and Michigan State. MSU edged in-state counterparts Western Michigan to reach this point, while the Hoosiers outlasted New Hampshire 2-1.

The College Cup will take place Dec. 8 (semifinals) and Dec. 10 (final) at Talen Energy Stadium, with the winners crowned as NCAA Division I national champions.