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Four-goal second half fuels men’s soccer win over Pacific on opening day

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Stanford men’s soccer (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12) defeated Pacific (0-1, 0-0 WCC) 4-0 at home in its first game since the College Cup Semifinal on Dec. 13, 2019. The Cardinal did its damage through second-half goals from sophomore forward Gabe Segal, junior midfielder Will Richmond and redshirt junior forward Zach Ryan, as well as a Pacific own goal. 

Despite being on the front foot for the vast majority of the first half, Stanford was unable to get a goal in the opening period as the team managed just six shots with two on target. The Cardinal’s high press was effective, forcing multiple errant passes from the Tigers. 

The first action of the game did not happen until the seventh minute when Pacific sophomore center forward Derick Roque went down in the box after knocking into a pair of Cardinal defenders. The referee waved play on as the Pacific bench was calling for a penalty. 

The Cardinal would not have its first real chance until the 20th minute, with Segal unable to latch on to a Richmond cross. 10 minutes later, Stanford almost struck on a dangerous free kick into the box, but Pacific junior goalkeeper Eric Cotton was able to punch it away. 

Head coach Jeremy Gunn, now in his ninth season in charge of the program, made his first substitution in the 34th minute, bringing on senior forward Charlie Wehan for senior forward Jack O’Brien. 

After the halftime break, Pacific had its first chance of scoring as junior midfielder Yazid Omri found himself uncovered in the box and unleashed a shot that was well-saved by Stanford redshirt junior goalkeeper Andrew Thomas. 

The Cardinal continued to push forward, searching for its opening goal. In the 57th minute, after earning a free kick just outside of the box, Segal stepped forward and lashed a free kick into the left side of the net. Cotton was rooted to his spot on the right side of the goal. 

From there, Stanford never looked back, constantly threatening the Pacific box. Twelve minutes later, Wehan made a cross from just outside of the box that was perfectly volleyed in by Richmond for Cardinal goal number two. 

In the 78th minute, the Pacific goalkeeper tripped Ryan in the box, earning a yellow card for himself and gifting Stanford a penalty. Ryan dusted himself off and powered the ball into the left side of the net from the penalty spot. 

Only a minute later, the Cardinal found itself in the opposing box again. Cotton was able to parry back a first attempt off the goalline for the Tigers, but the ball was then put into the net by one of his own teammates. 

Stanford ended the game with 18 shots, compared to Pacific’s two. 

This match served as just one of two non-conference contests for the Cardinal this season. They will finish the non-conference slate on Monday, taking on San Francisco at Cagan Stadium at 5 p.m. PST. 

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Ells Boone is a desk editor for the sports section. He is a sophomore from Virginia Beach, Virginia, studying communication and economics. You can catch him waking up early on weekend mornings to watch his favorite Premier League team, Tottenham Hotspur, play. Contact him at eboone24 'at' stanforddaily.com.