Despite a slow start, No. 1 men’s soccer (7-0, 1-0 Pac-12) exploded for three second-half goals in a win over San Jose State (0-7, 0-0 WAC) last night. This is the best starting record for the Cardinal since 2002.
At halftime, a 0-0 scoreline felt eerily similar to the 2018 season opener — the most recent time the two teams met. Neither side finished a goal in that game, which ended in a scoreless draw after double overtime.
“San Jose passed and moved the ball very, very well,” Stanford Head Coach Jeremy Gunn said, “so they have those periods in the game where they’re really buzzing.”
Just a little over six minutes into the second half, however, freshman forward Ousseni Bouda reversed the story line with a clinical finish to give the Cardinal the lead. Junior forward Charlie Wehan poked Bouda through into the box, and the freshman gained position on his defender and put away his third goal of the year.
The second goal came less than two minutes later in the 54th minute on a senior defensive midfielder Derek Waldeck half-volley at the top of the box. To set up the goal, Spartan goalkeeper David Sweeney was able to punch away the corner taken by junior right back Logan Panchot. Bouda wisely passed up on the shot to allow Waldeck to score his second of the year.
Waldeck also created the chance for the third goal, putting pressure on Spartan defender Jeff Dukes deep in San Jose territory. Waldeck was then able to slip freshman forward Gabe Segal across the goal for an easy finish. Segal now claims a team-high four goals, scoring in each of the last three games.
“The strikers are all fighting for time, and they can all stake a claim that they should be getting more minutes,” Gunn said.
By the final whistle, Stanford outshot San Jose 21-6, including 11-3 in shots on goal.
In just his second career game, Sweeney set a lofty standard with eight saves, as he was under a barrage all night. Stanford also made changes to its ten field-position players for the first time this season with redshirt sophomore midfielder Kei Tomozawa and junior forward Arda Bulut receiving their first starts of the season.
Wehan had the first look on goal for the Cardinal, but his attempt in the 8th minute sailed just high. Freshman forward Ousseni Bouda was called for three first-half offsides but righted himself with the second half goal.
“It was a great first ball, a lovely slip in by Charlie then an emphatic finish by Ousseni,” Gunn said.
After just two shots in the first 35 minutes of play, the 36th minute saw three for the Cardinal.
At halftime, Stanford led in shots 5-2 shots and put three on frame. The Cardinal were called for seven of the eight fouls and both teams took a pair of corners.
“First half, it’s just a tough soccer game,” Gunn said. “It was just one of those games where we still have the better chances in the first half, we just couldn’t quite capitalize on those.”
The second half started quickly with a Sweeney save, and then Wehan missing high over the top of the bar. The first eight minutes of the second half included five shots for the Cardinal, matching their first half total, and two goals.
“The first 15 minutes of the second half truly, truly wins the game,” Gunn said. “It was quite clear that we were on top in that period.”
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Thomas recorded his first of three saves in the 54th minute on a shot by midfielder Danny Sanchez. The Spartans looked to have their best chance at a goal in the 56th minute, but forward Rodolfo Castro whiffed on the shot. Castro was gifted another opportunity five minutes later but again missed wide without testing Thomas.
Fifth-year center back Tanner Beason was shown the lone yellow card in the game for a foul on defender Omar Lemus.
Segal had two more chances to score, first in the 70th minute when he found himself one-on-one with Sweeney. The keeper was up to the task, however, and came out of the box to deflect the shot. The second shot came nine minutes later in the 79th minute on a save from Sweeney, and the follow-up was blocked despite Sweeney getting caught off his line.
Thomas preserved the shutout, the fifth of the year for Stanford, with an 89th minute save on Sanchez.
The Cagan Stadium student section was in full force for the game.
“We’re really hopeful that we’ll have a tremendous support once we start conference here,” Gunn said. “It’s gonna be another incredible, tough fight.”
Stanford looks to extend its winning streak Saturday at Santa Barbara (5-2, 0-0 Big West). Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.