Things were looking slow in the first half for the Cardinal men’s soccer team (4-5-3, 1-3-1 Pac-12) and the Denver Pioneers (8-2-2, 3-0-0 Pac-12), with no goals scored on either end of the field. However, while the start of the second half was solid for Stanford with one goal under its belt early on, the Pioneers were able to secure a draw with a goal of their own in the 78th minute. Saturday’s result marks the third draw for the men’s soccer program this season.
Throughout the first half, both teams were presented with chances to get ahead, with three shot attempts for Stanford and two for Denver. When the Pioneers had the right opportunity to score a goal near the end of the first half, it was redshirt junior goalkeeper Matt Frank who made a direct save away from the net and allowed the Cardinal to head into the second half still with a clean slate.
The momentum after the 45-minute mark leaned towards the Cardinal’s favor. Just over six minutes into the second period, junior forward Ousseni Bouda found his chance as he saw his teammate, junior defender Keegan Hughes, run toward the box. Bouda launched the ball forward to the bottom corner, assisting Hughes in a goal scored at the 51:17 mark. This gave Hughes his first goal and Bouda his ninth assist of the season.
The opening goal gave the Cardinal the lead, but the Pioneers continued to play tough. While Stanford continued to hold possession of the ball, the Pioneers counter-attacked on an opportunity that led them to earn a penalty kick in the 78th minute. Denver senior midfielder Stefan Deleone at first was unsuccessful as his penalty shot was deflected off the hands of Frank. However, a rebound from Frank’s save allowed a second chance for Deleone. He would not be denied a second time and scored a goal for the Pioneers.
“I thought it was very unfortunate to give away a penalty at that point in time because Denver didn’t really look like they were going to break through to equalize,” said head coach Jeremy Gunn. “In a tough moment the team continued to battle on and came away with a very honorable tie.”
This was the first time the Cardinal men’s soccer team tied with the Denver Pioneers. In the team’s 22-year history, Stanford has never lost against Denver.
The Cardinal will return home to Cagan Stadium for a Thursday night game against San Diego State on Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. PT.