Nov. 7, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. -
Stanford doubled its season-high in goals, broke a four-match losing streak, and played spoiler, all in a 4-2 victory over visiting Washington on Friday night.
Four players - Michael Strickland, Taylor Amman, Enrique Allen, and Garrett Gunther - scored their first goals of the season for Stanford (4-10-2, 2-5-1), which bolted to a 3-0 second-half lead and held on during a frantic second half. For Amman, Allen and Gunther, those were their first collegiate goals.
The result knocked Washington (8-6-2, 3-3-2) out of any shot at catching UCLA in the Pacific-10 Conference race, ceding sole possession of the title to the Bruins.
Stanford had managed only two goals in its previous four matches combined, and only 10 all season, but got a lift from center midfielder Strickland. The co-captain not only ignited the scoring onslaught by settling a pass from Tim Jones and firing the ball into the upper left corner in the 24th minute, but controlled the possession and pace.
"Michael played a great game," Stanford coach Bret Simon said. "In a game that was very rugged, he held us together. He was the best player on the field today."
Up front, Stanford got a boost from the tireless play of redshirt freshman Taylor Amman and sophomore Dominique Yahyavi. With Washington pressing forward after falling behind, the two exploited space in the defense with a series of runs, fueling further offensive surges.
Amman, who had played only once all season and that was two months ago, had a shot cleared off the line before making the most of another chance. This time, his shot was deflected by a defender over diving goalkeeper Rylan Hawkins in the 45th minute, giving Stanford a 2-0 lead.
Stanford had scored as many as two goals only twice this season, but exceeded that when defender Allen knocked in a loose ball off Strickland's free kick from just to the right of the penalty area to stretch the lead to 3-0.
Allen, a fifth-year senior, had not played all season entering the lineup six games ago. He hasn't missed a start since.
"He really has had a great finish to his senior year," Simon said. "He's worked so hard for five years."
Allen's goal was the first of four in a 13-minute span. Attacking even harder, Washington sent a barrage of balls into the box and twice closed the deficit to two, first on a strike by Daniel Phelps and later on a penalty kick by Raphael Cox.
Those goals sandwiched a beautiful 25-yard shot by Stanford redshirt freshman Gunther from the left-side angle over Hawkins and inside the far post, in the 79th minute.
"We had a lot of guys injured," Simon said. "So, a lot of guys who don't normally get opportunities showed why it's important to work hard and always be ready. They came through in the clutch for us tonight."
Washington nearly made it 4-3 when Cox hit the crossbar in the waning minutes, but Cardinal held on. The victory was tempered, however, by a red card issued after the match to Jones for dissent.
The card comes with a one-game suspension, which means he will be unable to participate in his final home match, on Senior Day against Oregon State on Sunday (12:30 p.m.). It also will end his streak of consecutive starts at 62.
Eight seniors will be recognized by Stanford just before kickoff Sunday. Jones will rejoin the team for its season finale at Cal on Nov. 15.
Stanford 4, Washington 2
Washington 0 2 - 2
Stanford 2 2 - 4
S - Strickland (Jones), 24th; Amman (Leon), 45th; Allen (Strickland), 68th; Gunther (unassisted), 79th.
W - Phelps (Tucker-Gangnes, Cox), 74th; Cox (penalty), 80th.
Records - Stanford 4-10-2, 2-5-1; Washington 8-6-2, 3-3-2.