For the past four years, the Washington men’s soccer team has played some nail-biting games against Stanford; the past seven matches against head coach Jamie Clark’s former team had been decided by a goal or less. But on a sunny Sunday at Cagan Stadium, that streak was broken as the Huskies (8-7, 3-4 Pac-12) lost 3-1 to the Cardinal (8-2-4, 5-1-1 Pac-12), getting swept in the season series for the first time in Clark’s tenure as head coach.
This game was a textbook tale of two halves, with Stanford running all over the UW in the first 45, and Washington turning the tables for most of the next 45 to get within striking distance of the lead. However, Stanford’s overall advantage was too much for Washington to overcome, and in the end, the team lost its last road match of the regular season.
“Credit to Stanford today, they took their chances,” Clark said. “I felt like we were in control of the game and then two crazy turnovers led to the first two chances and in a blink of an eye it was 2-0. We lost the grip of the game for the next 20 minutes but we came back out in the second half and were unbelievable.”
While it took almost 22 minutes for either team to score in the first matchup last week, Stanford wasted no time getting on the board the second time around. In the third minute, an attempted long ball from senior defender Quentin Pearson was blocked on the UW side of midfield by senior midfielder Amir Bashti, who used his speed to take the ball quickly the other way. He made a move on redshirt sophomore keeper Bryce Logan to beat him, and then promptly scored on the open goal to make it 1-0 red team.
The Cardinal doubled up the lead in the 26th minute in a very similar fashion. The Huskies lost possession in their own half, the ball found Bashti, and Bashti made a back pass to an open Zach Ryan who skipped the ball past an outstretched Logan into the bottom right corner.
When the first 45 was all said and done, Washington had been outshot 6-5 by and had not recorded a shot on goal.
But the second half was an entirely different story from the jump as Washington quickly became the aggressors. In the 47th minute, sophomore midfielder Blake Bodily wound up a shot towards goal from the left side of the box. The keeper got to it to save it, but it was the beginning of the team’s big push back into the game.
Pearson provided a couple headers in close that couldn’t quite find the goal, and Bodily, redshirt senior forward Kyle Coffee and freshman forward Dylan Teves could not convert on some tough shots from distance.
In the 68th minute, redshirt senior forward Scott Menzies came to the rescue on a free kick. Menzies lined up just outside the box on the left side and attempted a shot that was easily saved by the keeper. Fortunately, the referees were not quite ready to start play yet, so he got to do the kick over again. On the second go-around, he pounded the shot right at the Cardinal keeper and the ball found the back of the net with conviction, cutting the lead in half and providing hope for a very realistic comeback effort.
The Huskies continued their offensive, not giving the opponent too many chances to get on the counterattack. But in the 74th minute, the Cardinal did, and in doing so they got their lead back up to two.
Stanford sent the ball into the box, and redshirt junior defender Tanner Beason caught Logan out of position in goal, looping his header right over him and across the line for the decisive blow.
Washington began to play frustrated, and as a result found only three shot opportunities thereafter, two of them headers from redshirt freshman defender Freddy Kleeman. The UW heavily outshot Stanford in the second half 14-4, but could not find the goals in the end that could get them over the top.
The Huskies return home desperate for a conference win, and they will get a second crack at UCLA this Thursday at 8 p.m.
Reach reporter Chris Angkico at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @chrisangkico