By Jeremy Rubin
On a cold Thursday night at Paul Lorenz Field in Corvallis, Oregon, No. 5 Stanford men’s soccer (12-1-3, 5-1-1 Pac-12) traded yellow cards and game-defining defensive saves with Oregon State (7-5-2, 4-2-2 Pac-12) before finally ending in a draw. The two teams finished all 110’ of regular time and overtime with a 0-0 score.
“If you isolated the game apart from what’s going on with the conference tonight, it was an excellent road performance against a very, very good team,” head coach Jeremy Gunn said.
Coming into the game, Stanford had one goal in mind against the Beavers: win. With a win, the Cardinal would have a chance to fight for the Pac-12 Championship title against No. 1 Washington (14-1, 7-0 Pac-12) on Sunday.
The first half was slow for both sides. Neither team had a shot on goal, as Oregon State’s methodical ball movement chewed up much of the game clock. The Beavers’ game plan was effective in limiting Stanford’s potent attack throughout the contest.
“It was a chess match in the first half,” Gunn said.
Stanford has not beaten Oregon State in their past four contests, dating back to October 2017. The Cardinal lost 1-0 in early 2018 and have tied in the most recent three matches.
Each team came out after halftime with a chip on its shoulder. The Cardinal and Beavers traded blows throughout the next 45 minutes with numerous questionable hits and several others that went uncalled. Senior midfielder Derek Waldeck and others attempted to keep the peace, but by the end of the half, six players picked up yellow cards. Four of the players were on Stanford and two on Oregon State.
Despite the increased aggressiveness from both sides, neither team could gain an upper hand. Stanford’s first on-target shot came in the 65th minute. Oregon State did no better, as redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Thomas easily contested the Beavers’ lone attempt in the half.
Throughout the game, each side’s defense held its ground. “On the night both keepers deserve plaudits for keeping clean sheets,” Gunn said.
In overtime, both teams began to show signs of life. Oregon State’s closest chance came in the 94th minute, when Beaver defender Eric Diaz caught two Stanford defenders off guard before firing a shot off. Thomas dove, making a heroic game-saving save near the post to keep the game tied.
“We are very happy with the shutout and at the same time a little bit frustrated that we couldn’t quite find that winning goal,” Gunn said.
The Cardinal managed just two shots on goal the entire game. Junior defender Logan Panchot and junior forward Arda Bulut provided the sole looks, neither of whom were able to find the back of the net.
“Looking at the results, it’s a testament to how tough the Pac-12 is. As we always say, every game is an absolute dogfight,” Gunn said.
Stanford was again without its star senior defender Tanner Beason, who was named to the preseason MAC Hermann Trophy watch list. He has been out with an injury since an Oct. 3 game against Washington. In his absence, Stanford has gone 5-1-2, but his presence on the field would be a welcoming sight for the Cardinal.
Stanford remains in the Pacific Northwest for a Sunday showdown with Washington. In the two teams’ previous matchup, the Huskies overcame the Cardinal in overtime, winning the tightly contested matchup 2-1. Washington was able to get off 21 shots, eight of which were on goal, so a key in the next matchup will be limiting the Huskies’ potent offense.
With Washington’s 3-2 loss to Cal later on Thursday night, the Pac-12 is still up for grabs. Stanford’s next game against the Huskies is a must-win to do so. “We’re still in the race,” Gunn said.
Match time is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday in Seattle, Washington.
This article has been updated to reflect that Washington has not actually clinched the Pac-12 title. The conference champion will be decided on Sunday when Stanford visits the Huskies. The Daily regrets this error.
Contact Jeremy Rubin at jjmrubin ‘at’ stanford.edu.