Widgets Magazine

M. Soccer: Cardinal sees red again in loss to Huskies

In what amounted to a near carbon copy of last weekend’s result, Stanford’s men’s soccer team conceded a late goal to Washington and couldn’t find the equalizer in a somewhat sloppy and very physical 2-1 loss to the Huskies.

Senior Adam Jahn (12) had an assist as Stanford’s took an early lead over the Huskies on Senior Day, but another red card for the Cardinal gave Washington the edge and the Huskies capitalized late to win 2-1 (Stanford Daily File Photo).

With the victory, Washington (10-3-3, 5-0-2 Pac-12) cemented its spot atop the Pac-12 standings, and sent the Cardinal (6-7-1, 3-3-1) to a defeat it could ill afford to take.

It was clear from the beginning of the game that Stanford was determined to be the aggressor on offense and dictate the tempo. The Cardinal kept the pace of the game high and pressed the Huskies even higher.

Much of head coach Jeremy Gunn’s game plan seemed designed to counteract the result of last weekend’s loss on the road against Washington, when the Huskies slowed the pace of the game to a crawl and hard fouls and yellow cards were abundant.

An early red card to freshman defender Brandon Vincent in that game forced Stanford to play down a man for the entire second half and it ultimately led to the breakdowns that gave Washington the 2-0 victory.

Gunn tried hard to ensure that Sunday’s encounter would not follow a similar path, and in the early going things were certainly looking up.

Eric Anderson stepped up on his Senior Day, working a nice run down the right sideline in the 22nd minute and crossing the ball to Adam Jahn on the near post. Washington goalie Spencer Richey raced out to try and block Jahn, but the ball slipped past Jahn with just a slight touch and fell to Zach Batteer all alone in front of the goal. The sophomore forward easily passed the ball into the net for his fifth goal in the last six games.

“It was a good goal,” Gunn said. “We want Eric to beat players and get crosses off, so he’s done that well, and Zach got in and scored again. It was a great goal and we managed to take the initiative and we just needed to be able to consolidate that.”

But as the game got more and more physical, the tempo began to slow and the referee had trouble getting things under control. The Huskies took advantage of the slower tempo to take more touches on the ball and finally broke through on one their only dangerous chances of the half in the 36th minute.

Washington senior Patrick Pacheco made a very nice run down the left side and sent a good cross toward goal that James Moberg nodded past Stanford goalie Drew Hutchins.

While disappointed, Gunn noted that at that point in the game, Stanford was still controlling play. “I thought we played great,” he said. “We gave away one early chance then after that I really felt we passed the ball well, we were very much the better team. The way we were playing we were always looking dangerous.”

But just seven minutes later–and two minutes before halftime–another Cardinal freshman was goaded into a silly foul that cost Stanford dearly. Midfielder Ty Thompson became entangled with Moberg near the sideline but off the ball, eventually throwing a vicious elbow that connected with Moberg’s chest and brought an immediate red card from the referee, remarkably the third straight game in which the Huskies’ opponent has had a player sent off.

Down to 10 men, Stanford managed to maintain its composure early on in the second half, and created several scoring chances. However, the man-advantage once again paid dividends in the long run for Washington.

Moberg found Nate Sackeyfio down the left side in the 71st minute and the forward ripped a shot to the near post that Hutchins was hopeless to reach.

The Cardinal pressed desperately after that, nearly scratching out an equalizer a few minutes later on a bouncing ball in the box and earning several dangerous corner kicks that forced the Huskies into some frantic defending.

The game went down to the final seconds, literally, as Sackeyfio picked up the game’s seventh yellow card for stalling with four seconds to play, and the Cardinal had one last chance with a free kick from 40-yards out. The volley was cleared wide and Stanford fell once again.

“In soccer you look at the results and it comes down to goals scored, but we dominated the play, dominated the game, we just couldn’t quite get that goal we needed,” Gunn said. “A couple of those chances were those where you just couldn’t figure out how they didn’t go in. I’m just really proud of the way the boys played and the way they kept going. We were the fresher team, the fitter team, the stronger team and we always looked like the team that was going to score. But they took what few opportunities they had and meanwhile we kept banging on the door and couldn’t get in.”

The loss puts a lot of pressure on Stanford this weekend when the team takes on No. 16 UC-Santa Barbara on the road. Sitting in third place in the Pac-12 standings behind No. 7 UCLA and the Huskies, the Cardinal needs to boost its resume and likely win out in its remaining conference matches to reach the NCAA Tournament.

About Miles Bennett-Smith

Miles Bennett-Smith is Chief Operating Officer at The Daily. An avid sports fan from Penryn, Calif., Miles graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor's degree in American Studies. He has previously served as the Editor in Chief and President at The Daily. He has also worked as a reporter for The Sacramento Bee. Email him at eic@stanforddaily.com