In their final home game of the regular season, the Stanford men’s soccer team (5-5-3, 2-3-1 Pac-12) will look to avenge their Pac-12 season opener loss when they take on the UCLA Bruins (8-5-0, 3-3-0 Pac-12) on Sunday afternoon.
In the two teams’ first bout this season, the Cardinal sustained a 2-0 loss, breaking a 10-game win streak against the Bruins and leaving them with their first loss against the program since 2013. The match set the tone for each of the teams’ regular seasons.
Following a 2020 Pac-12 championship, Stanford’s 2021 campaign has left a lot to be desired. Sitting with a Pac-12 record of 2-3-1, the Cardinal’s postseason hopes remain in question. On the other hand, UCLA holds a conference record of 3-3, which is an improvement from last year, when they finished with the second-worst record in the conference.
While the Cardinal have fallen short of expectations this year and the Bruins have exceeded theirs, each team’s most recent games tell a different story.
Stanford is coming off of a dominant 4-0 victory over San Diego State (7-4-2, 2-4-0 Pac-12). The Cardinal were led by redshirt senior forward Zach Ryan. The 2020 Pac-12 Player of the Year netted two goals, making him the third highest goal-scorer in Pac-12 history. Sophomore defender Ryan Dunn also made a name for himself in his first career start, providing the Cardinal with both his first career assist and goal.
As for UCLA, they enter Sunday’s game following a 2-1 loss to California (3-8-2, 1-5 Pac-12), which gave the Golden Bears their only win of conference play this season. In Stanford’s matchup with Cal earlier this year, the Cardinal took home a commanding 5-0 victory.
Although UCLA is coming off a loss, they have many bright stars to look out for come Sunday, namely freshman forward Aaron Edwards, who took home the College Soccer News National Player of the Week and Pac-12 Player of the Week awards just last week.
Sunday’s matchup will be a crucial game for the Pac-12 standings, as a Stanford victory will place them half a game ahead of UCLA, good for sole possession of third place in the Pac-12.
Kick off is scheduled for 3 pm P.T. on Sunday at Cagan Stadium.