M. Soccer: Cardinal’s road woes continue

Oct. 25, 2011, 1:44 a.m.

With fond memories of last weekend’s outing against Oregon State in mind, the Stanford men’s soccer team traveled to the Pacific Northwest in hopes of improving on its meager 1-3-1 Pac-12 record and eyeing a chance to move up in the conference standings with a good showing in rematches against Washington and Oregon State. But the Huskies showed no signs of cooling down as they continued their recent hot streak with a 2-0 win over the Cardinal on Friday night. Corvallis proved to be a rough trip for Stanford, as the Card couldn’t close the deal and lost in overtime.

M. Soccer: Cardinal's road woes continue
Junior midfielder Dersu Abolfathi and the Stanford men's soccer team continued to struggle on the road, losing to both Washington and Oregon State by a goal apiece. (SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily)

Sunday’s game at Oregon State (5-8-2, 3-3-1 Pac-12) saw the Cardinal symptomatically struggling to capitalize on its scoring chances on the road—the team has scored just one goal through the first seven away games of the season.

The match itself was a tight affair—neither side could break through and the shot totals were fairly even at 13-10 in favor of the home side. Stanford put the hosts’ goalie Steve Spangler to the test on seven occasions without bagging a goal, but the Beavers also looked dangerous on the counterattack.

The decisive moment came less than two minutes into overtime, when Oregon State sophomore Josh von Allworden tallied what Stanford head coach Bret Simon described as a “fluky goal.”

But as much as the Cardinal was nearly helpless to stop the golden goal from von Allworden—which came after a long free kick was tipped away by goalie Jason Dodson and fell straight to von Allworden’s feet in front of goal—Stanford had its chances to slow the Huskies two days earlier in Seattle.

The reunion with the Huskies (10-3-2, 5-2-0), who shut out the Cardinal last weekend at Cagan Stadium, didn’t start out well.

Stanford came into the game with a desire to rid itself of the 500-pound gorilla that had been riding the team’s back for the last couple of weeks—the Cardinal hadn’t scored on the road since a 3-2 defeat at the hands of California last November, a stretch of six straight road matches where Stanford was outscored 9-0.

And while the opening minutes saw Washington holding much of the possession, the Huskies were also unable to threaten the Stanford back four. But after 11 minutes, a momentary lapse in concentration in the Cardinal defense allowed Washington’s Jamie Finch to swing in an excellent cross that found an unmarked Jake Hustedt in the box. Hustedt showed good composure to control the ball before poking it past Dodson for an early lead.

Simon had laid specific plans to contain Finch and Hustedt, but had to concede that they got the better of his own players on the first goal.

“Finch is one of the most dangerous crossers in the conference. He played an amazing ball,” Simon said. “And we all know about Hustedt’s qualities from his time at Cal Poly.”

But the Cardinal responded promptly. In the 20th minute, a Stanford free kick was fired into the box, and the ball bounced around before it found the feet of redshirt senior Taylor Amman. He kept his cool and slotted home his first goal of the season for the equalizer.

The Huskies mounted an offensive charge after Stanford’s goal, but the pressure didn’t amount to anything until five minutes before halftime, when Stanford was punished by a ruthless counterattack. Great combination play by substitute Abdul Aman and Brent Richards set up Aman, who made no mistakes on a quality finish that gave Washington the lead.

After the break, the Cardinal came out of the starting blocks eager to prove its worth. Stanford quickly took control of the game and looked likely to score throughout the second half, outshooting its opponents 5-2. The goal never came though, and the Cardinal was handed its second loss in as many weeks by the Huskies, who have now won their last five matches. Despite this, Simon seemed happy with his team’s display.

”I thought we got stronger as the game progressed,” he said. “We were creating good scoring opportunities, but their goalkeeper made a couple of key saves.

“We knew that it was highly unlikely to make the playoffs, so the goal for this weekend and the upcoming games was to keep improving and playing better soccer. I think we did that,” he said.

Stanford now has a bye week before hosting Southern California schools San Diego State and UCLA this weekend. The Cardinal will look to exact some revenge and possibly play the spoiler, as both visiting teams have serious postseason aspirations.


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