Riding a two-game winning streak, No. 2 Stanford women’s soccer (7-1, 0-0 Pac-12) opens its conference calendar with a visit to No. 3 USC (7-0-1, 0-0 Pac-12) on Saturday. The Trojans are the highest-ranked team the Cardinal has faced thus far, and the matchup has the potential to previewing a postseason thriller.
The last time the two sides met was on Sept. 30, 2018. After a scoreless 90 minutes, the match went to extra time. Stanford’s Sophia Smith netted the game-winner in the 97th minute to lift the then-top-ranked Cardinal over then-No. 2 USC. The sophomore forward has tallied three goals this season.
Both teams enter Saturday’s meeting on a similar trajectory as the two sides are ranked in the top three. Stanford enters the game fresh off a 4-2 victory at Santa Clara. The challenging Broncos knotted the game twice, before junior forward Catarina Macario scored the winning goal in the 77th minute with a perfectly placed 25-yard free kick.
Macario, two-time ESPNW Player of the Year, leads the conference in points (26), and her conference-leading count of 10 goals is tied for the most in the country. She also has six assists on the season, tied for the most in the Pac-12.
The Trojans may prove to be the toughest challenger this season. They are led by forwards Penelope Hocking and Tara McKeown. The duo have produced two-thirds of the goals this year for USC, and are tied for third in the conference in goals scored with seven each.
Despite a talented roster, USC broke its seven-game winning streak at Baylor (3-2-3, 0-0 Big-12) on Friday, after the Bears came back from a 2-0 first-half deficit to end the game tied.
The two programs have met 19 times, with 15 of those falling in Stanford’s favor. Over the last 10 years, Stanford has built an 8-2 record against USC, with the only loss in Trojan territory being a 0-3 defeat on Oct. 6, 2016.
Stanford’s quest for its fifth-straight conference title begins Saturday in Los Angeles. The match kicks off at 1 p.m. PT from McAlister Field.
Contact Alejandro Salinas at asalinas ‘at’ stanford.edu.