By Kit Ramgopal
Stanford men’s soccer (8-2-3, 5-0 Pac-12) netted three goals against No.17 UCLA (7-4-1, 3-2) in less than 15 minutes to clinch a 3-0 victory at Cagan Stadium on Sunday night. This win is Stanford’s fifth consecutive Pac-12 victory in the course of its perfect conference season — the second time in program history that the Cardinal have put together a five-game Pac-12 win streak.
A win over the Bruins is especially sweet for a program that is 2-0-3 in its last five games against UCLA, after going 6-39-6 from 1973-2013. The Bruins’ defense couldn’t keep up with Stanford’s offense on Saturday, however. The Cardinal finished the game outshooting UCLA 20-11.
After ending the first half at 0-0, the Cardinal upped the intensity in the second half. Junior Foster Langsdorf’s header nicked the post, followed seconds later by a 20-yard shot from junior Corey Baird. It was junior Sam Werner who hit the net for the first time, after Baird cut a ball back to the top of the box for Werner to nail into the far post.
Werner’s 66th-minute goal started a 15-minute flurry of shots for Stanford.
In the 76th minute, the Bruins surrendered a corner kick to the Cardinal — one of six that they would give up throughout the night. Werner serviced it into the box, and UCLA controlled the ball for a clear, but couldn’t get the clear past sophomore Tanner Beason, who was waiting at the top of the 18-yard box. Beason chested the ball and launched a right-foot shot into the left corner, putting the Cardinal up 2-1. Junior Adam Mosharrafa added insurance points to the board with an 80th-minute free kick that curved around the Bruins’ wall into the upper pocket of the goal.
“From back to front it was an amazing performance,” head coach Jeremy Gunn said after the game. “UCLA is a tremendous team, but on the night we thoroughly deserved it. Everybody brought their ‘A’ game.”
“We were rock solid defensively [and] there was an awful lot of the time when we were watching our guys attack rather than watching theirs involved in the game. At the end of the day you really have to look at how many chances we had and how many saves their keeper had to make, which pretty much showed that on the night we definitely deserved the victory.”
The Cardinal defense was unsurprisingly reliable. Senior goalkeeper Andrew Epstein made three saves total and added a 19th clean sheet to his career tally, which was enough to move him up to third all-time in program history. After assisting three of the Cardinal’s six goals this weekend, Baird is now ninth in program history in assists with 20 in 55 career matches.
“It was a tremendous weekend,” Gunn said. “We can be very excited about how the first five have gone, but there are miles to go. There’s no room for complacency because every single one of these games can have different outcomes. If we keep showing up with the right mentality and the right work rate then the class of how we’re playing right now can hopefully shine through.”
After a rough 0-1-3 start to the year, Stanford’s confidence has skyrocketed as the team has changed momentum to go 8-1-0 in its last nine games and outscored its opponents 21-5. Stanford heads south for its next few matches, facing San Diego State on Thursday and UCLA on Sunday.
Contact Kit Ramgopal at kramgopa ‘at’ stanford.edu.