DALLAS - Two goals in the 78th minute, scored within 15 seconds of each other, doomed Stanford in its season opener, as the Cardinal fell 3-1 at SMU on Thursday.
The loss is Stanford's first in a season opener since 2015 and first non-conference defeat in the regular season since Sept. 20, 2018.
"Tough result," commented The Knowles Family Director of Men's Soccer Jeremy Gunn. "We started the game brightly. Played very well in the first 25 minutes, scoring a great set piece goal off a great delivery from the corner from Ousseni - well deserved lead at that time when we were really playing well."
The Cardinal indeed controlled momentum early, and struck first in the 10th minute off of a corner kick. Sophomore Noah Adnan scored his first career goal on a connection from Ousseni Bouda, headed straight into the back of the net.
Stanford did well to maintain possession for a large chunk of the first half, but SMU was able to even things up on its first shot of the day, capitalizing on a runout played cleanly in the box in the 28th minute. From there, the Mustangs found their footing, tilting the field in their advantage.
"We lost our way a little bit - gave up a goal to SMU, allowing them to tie up the game when it was pretty even at that point. In the second half, all credit to SMU. They got on top and started moving the ball well. Our passing and control was just poor, and as a result, we didn't attack well enough in the second half."
Stanford was able to weather the storm of a strong SMU attack for much of the second period before a pair of mistakes cost the Cardinal with just over 12 minutes remaining in regulation. A foul in the box sent SMU to the spot, where sophomore goalkeeper Eliot Jones came up with a big penalty kick save but the Mustangs followed up the shot to take a 2-1 lead. Just 15 seconds later, SMU's same goal-scorer rocketed a shot into the goal just steps inside midfield with Jones off his line.
"Unfortunate to give away a penalty. Eliot managed to make a great save off the penalty but unfortunately it bounced straight back to the kicker ... After the kickoff we were out of position and their player made a world-class finish from long, long range. It was too deep a hole at that stage in the game."
"We'll take the bright spots from a game that was an otherwise disappointing result. We'll come back home and hope to move forward."
The Cardinal returns to action next Thursday, Sept. 2 for another road match at Pacific. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.