By Ells Boone
The last time these two teams met was an overtime thriller win for No. 6 Stanford men’s soccer (8-1-1, 6-1-1 Pac-12), won on a late goal from sophomore forward Gabe Segal. This time around, fans did not have to worry about their heart rate as the Cardinal eased to a 3-1 victory over San Diego State (1-5-2, 1-5-2 Pac-12) at Cagan Stadium.
Stanford wasted no time getting its attack started, as Segal had a shot blocked in the very first minute of play. The first half was also chippy, with several fouls called on both teams. Aztec freshman defender Fritz Oestreicher received a yellow card in the 17th minute and Stanford sophomore defender Keegan Hughes swiftly followed suit, earning one of his own.
In the 23rd minute, junior midfielder Will Richmond whipped a free kick into the box where Segal was able to latch onto the ball and send it home for the game’s opener. That was his sixth goal of the season and Richmond’s fifth assist.
Stanford’s lead would only last 10 minutes. San Diego State freshman midfielder Andre Ochoa stole the ball from a Cardinal center back and slotted his shot past Stanford redshirt junior goalkeeper Andrew Thomas for the equalizer.
Only a minute later, Stanford earned a penalty kick, but redshirt junior forward Zach Ryan’s attempt was well-saved by Aztec sophomore goalkeeper Tetsuya Kadono.
From there, the Cardinal turned its intensity up a notch, launching attack after attack on San Diego State’s defense. In the 36th minute, Thomas launched a goal kick into the opposing team’s box. Stanford was able to gain possession and junior midfielder Ryan Ludwick found the foot of his teammate Ryan, who fired the Cardinal ahead. The home team would not turn back.
Nine minutes later, and just before halftime, redshirt junior forward Rhys De Sota fell down in the box, but his teammate, senior forward Charlie Wehan, was right there to put the ball in the back of the net. Stanford would take its 3-1 lead into halftime. The Cardinal outshot the Aztecs 10-5 in the opening period.
The second half was much less eventful, but Stanford still controlled the run of play. The team came close to adding to its score total on a few occasions, none more so than when sophomore midfielder Cam Cilley had a shot saved in the 75th minute.
Stanford outshot its opponent 8-1, an even more dominant display than the first half despite not being able to make another dent on the scoreboard.
The win was the Cardinal’s eighth of the season and sets the team up well for its final two matches against Oregon State and Washington. Both of those teams are ranked in the top 10 in the country. Stanford beat Oregon State earlier this season but lost to the Huskies.
The team will travel to Corvallis next Saturday to face the Beavers at 12 p.m. PT. The match will be shown on the Pac-12 Network.