Despite trailing for the first time this season, No. 2 men’s soccer (6-0, 1-0 Pac-12) came away with a 2-1 comeback win over Cal (3-2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) on Friday to open conference play.
“We gave the team a head start, and we had the resiliency and the quality to catch up, which is very special,” said head coach Jeremy Gunn.
Freshman forward Gabe Segal entered the match in the 69th minute and scored the game-winning goal, his first on the Farm, 35 seconds later.
“Second half we were magnificent,” Gunn said. “The old cliche, ‘a game of two halves,’ couldn’t have been more appropriate today.”
Gunn’s starting lineup of field players was identical to that of the previous five games, and the group quickly earned a first-minute corner kick. A spurt of possession throughout the opening minutes, however, was disrupted by a run of sloppy play that allowed the Bears to strike first in the eighth minute.
Cal found midfielder Francisco Perez with time on the left wing, and he was able to put a cross through to the feet of forward Jonathan Estrada. With one touch, Estrada finished low past redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Thomas, who was given no chance for a save, surrendering the first goal of his collegiate career.
Senior midfielder Derek Waldeck was unable to keep the ball in play, gifting Cal with a corner kick. With neither team able to possess the ball out of the air, Berkeley put a shot on goal that forced a save out of Thomas. The Cardinal were unable to clear their lines completely, feeding the Bears their goal opportunity.
“I’m okay getting outplayed if we’re working our hardest,” Gunn said. “The work rate and the attitude is in our control, so I’m hopeful we can learn a little lesson today and move on from it.”
Bears midfielder Paolo Carillo-Weisenburger was shown a yellow card in the 22nd minute after tripping freshman forward Ousseni Bouda on a counterattack.
Junior right back Logan Panchot was taken down in the center of the pitch, five yards from the Cal box. Panchot remained to take the free kick but missed wide left.
With the ball deep in Bears territory on the right wing, Bouda beat his defender to the ball and put a cross into the box. Junior forward Arda Bulut slid to meet it and did enough to level the game in the 40th minute.
“Arda gave us a life line in the first half, in a half that we were definitely second best,” Gunn said.
At the break, Stanford held narrow 7-6 and 3-2 advantages in shots and corner kicks, respectively.
“The first half, I thought Cal was fantastic, and we were very poor,” Gunn said. “Not to take anything away from how Cal played, they were magnificent, but we weren’t at the races. We were slow and second in every category.”
Stanford gained possession of the ball with a numbers advantage in the 52nd minute, but junior forward Charlie Wehan’s shot sailed high.
Off of the afternoon’s fourth Stanford corner kick, the ball was cleared to redshirt sophomore Andrew Apprahamian at midfield, whose first-time shot connected with the crossbar.
In the 63rd minute, Panchot once again found himself over a free kick, this time testing Cal goalkeeper Drake Callender, who was able to make the save. Waldeck took a corner kick soon after, but neither team was able to get a touch on the curled ball, and it rolled out of bounds.
A minute after entering the match, Segal scored his first career goal. Segal took over on the ball in midfield and quickly raced forward, before burying his shot in the left side netting.
Gunn made a total of 15 substitutions in the second half alone. Cal made just nine in the game.
“We looked to put a little pressure on them in their beginning phase of building and we were able to do that,” Gunn said. “We broke quickly and that was an emphatic finish because there was a lot of work to do from the position he was in.
“He dropped his shoulder and absolutely buried it,” Gunn added. “What a great strike.”
Cal’s final chance came in the 88th minute on a volley, but the shot and the Bears chances went wide.
Instead, it was Stanford putting pressure on the Berkeley defense in the 89th minute as Ryan connected with Bouda, whose shot was saved by Callender, his seventh of the match.
Stanford outshot Cal 10-8 in the second half, including 6-2 in shots on goal. The Cardinal also took four of the five corner kicks in the period.
“It’s another milestone in the season where we fight our way back in a game,” Gunn said. “We have to show a little more honesty and humility.”
Stanford returns to action on Tuesday with a match against San Jose State at 7 p.m. PT.
Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.