Stanford’s five-match winning streak was snapped Thursday night when a pair of late goals from No. 3 Washington sent the Cardinal to a 3-1 loss at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
“It’s just a real disappointing result when that happens in soccer,” Gunn said in reference to the Cardinal controlling the match yet still being defeated. “We were throwing everything at them and I thought we played brilliantly throughout the game, created tons of chances. On another night I think if we’d won 3-1 I doubt there would be anybody questioning the result, really. But that’s what’s important about soccer. We were first in so many categories, created good chances but it’s about scoring goals.”
It was a cruel turn of events for the Cardinal (5-2-1, 0-1-0 Pac-12), which, despite falling behind in the 11th minute against the run of play, had controlled the action much of the night, outshooting Washington 19-12 equalizing in the 65th minute on Matt Taylor’s first collegiate goal.
It would be a 77th-minute corner kick from the Huskies that turned the match. Darwin Jones swung his kick into the box where Taylor Peay got his head to it at the far post and bounced it past Drew Hutchins for the go-ahead goal. Although the Cardinal would push forward looking for another equalizer, Jones would put the match away in the 87th minute with a blast on the counter.
Despite the disappointment from the result Stanford looks ahead to Sunday’s match with Oregon State as a chance to come out of the weekend with three points. Kickoff against the Beavers is at 3 p.m. and the match will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network.
Washington took the lead 11 minutes into the match on a goal which was strongly disputed by the Cardinal. Steven Wright got his head to Jones’ cross from the right but the contact was not clean. The ball dropped straight down the front of Wright and appeared to make contact with his forearm, setting him up to touch the ball home with his right foot. Hutchins immediately raced out to appeal to the referee for a handball but was shown a yellow card for dissent.
Stanford shook off the misfortune and took immediate control of the contest, forcing the third-ranked team in the nation onto its back foot. Only three minutes after the goal Aaron Kovar sent a cross into the six-yard box that found Jordan Morris all alone with the goal at his mercy but the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week’s header bounced down and hard over the crossbar.
JJ Koval would force a save from Husky goalkeeper Ryan Herman two minutes later and in the 22nd minute Brandon Vincent would glance his header just wide. Shots from Koval, Jimmy Callinan and Ty Thompson didn’t find the mark before the half-hour, and in the 38th minute Kovar’s effort was saved by Herman.
Things got dicey for the Cardinal only in the half’s final seconds, when the Huskies earned a free kick deep in the attacking third, but the Cardinal defense did well to block the initial effort from Justin Schmidt and the follow from Cristian Roldan.
Morris nearly equalized just 18 seconds into the second half, firing a low shot that beat Herman but went just wide past the far post. Additional Cardinal efforts went wide over the next few minutes, and just past the hour mark Vincent headed Kovar’s corner kick just wide.
Three minutes later the persistent Cardinal attack would pay off. A Husky foul set the Cardinal up for a free kick about 40 yards out and to the right of goal. Kovar’s cross was perfectly taken to the far post where Taylor ran unmarked to the spot and headed home in stride to square up the match at 1-1.
“We create great chances, but again, I think we can do better,” Gunn said. “The ball’s going to be played across the face of goal. It’s nothing tactical at that point, it’s about courage and getting your head on the end of it. We just nhave to keep that determination, of all the great stuff we’ve been playing it’s about throwing a body on the ball.”
Momentum firmly on its side, the Cardinal pushed forward for the go-ahead score. Thompson blistered the hands of Herman in the 70th minute and Morris fired high five minutes later. Hutchins did well to redirect a close-range shot from Jones at the near post and the Cardinal defense cleared out the resulting corner kick. But it would be Washington’s second corner kick that would be true, as Jones’ offering was nodded home by Peay for his fifth goal of the campaign.
Stanford, seeking the equalizer subbed out Taylor and added an extra striker in Mark Verso then earned a corner kick in the 86th minute. Thompson’s corner was cleared out and Jones controlled the clearance and raced down the right flank, finishing his run with a shot across goal and inside the far post for Washington’s third.