Segal's Strike Beats SDSU
SAN DIEGO - Strong defense and an opportunistic strike from Gabe Segal to open overtime was enough for a 1-0 Cardinal victory, as No. 4 Stanford battled past San Diego State on Saturday night to remain perfect at 4-0 on the season.
The Cardinal is unbeaten in its last 15 road matches and its last 18 matches overall with San Diego State. Stanford has begun Pac-12 play 2-0 in four of its last five seasons.
"Really happy with a tremendous result tonight," said Knowles Family Director of Men's Soccer Jeremy Gunn. "Conditions here are difficult on a very tight pitch, and we managed to persevere and get the win after a really well fought contest."
After boasting an attack-heavy offense in its first three matches of the season, the Aztecs flipped the script on Stanford, as the Cardinal spent most of the first half defending a pressing offense from the home team. The defense held strong with a bend, not break, mentality, featuring two saves from Kyle Orciuch in his first career start in the opening 45 minutes.
"I was really impressed with how we defended in the first half, it was an awesome performance under a lot of pressure," said Gunn.
Stanford got its offense on track as the game wore on, tilting the field in its favor. The Cardinal peppered four shots in less than 10 minutes in the second half, but was unable to break through the SDSU defense.
With several more opportunities, including two corner kicks and a header on frame from Cam Cilley in the final minutes, Stanford had captured the match's momentum and knew it just needed one strike to end things.
"We managed to improve in the second half, and the team knew we'd been in a tight game and just needed to show our strength, both physically and mentally. The game was for the taking," commented Gunn.
Wehan ?? Segal
— Stanford Men's Soccer (@StanfordMSoccer) February 28, 2021
It didn't take long in overtime for Stanford's golden goal, as Charlie Wehan threaded a pass through four defenders to Segal, who squared up and rocketed a shot to the near post, sneaking past the Aztec goalkeeper for the winner.
"We needed to stay in the fight and capitalize in the key moments - at the end, a striker who'd worked hard the whole game gets a chance to face the goal, and he buried it."