Cardinal Battles Bruins to a Draw
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford fought hard for a draw in the middle of a rainstorm on Sunday afternoon against UCLA. Stanford adds a fourth tie and moves to 5-5-4 (2-3-2) while UCLA takes their first draw of the season and shifts to 8-5-1 (3-3-1).
"It's one of those memorable occasions, we've had days like this in the past," said The Knowles Family Director of Men's Soccer Jeremy Gunn. "Naturally, we want to have a special day for senior day, but you can't always write the script perfectly."
Heading into the match, there were questions about if the pitch would be playable due to the massive amount of rain it had received throughout the day. However, despite the difficult conditions, the players took the field and competed.
"The game was in doubt with this wonderful rain we're having, but I thought both teams played very well," added Gunn. "We had a couple of great chances, and they had a couple of good chances."
The teams were evenly matched throughout the first half, with a few chances for either side. The weather proved difficult to negotiate as players from both teams struggled with maintaining traction with the pitch.
"In tough conditions where it was tough to keep footing I think both teams not only played very well, but played very sensibly," said Gunn. "Because there weren't too many challenges that were the types of things you get on days like this. Kudos to both teams."
The play opened up in the second half despite the weather not providing any relief. Stanford began the second half with much of the possession and plenty of pressure on the UCLA defense.
"On days like this in conditions like this, it's normally just one goal that decides the game," said Gunn. "So when we went behind, it was such a tough position to be in."
UCLA found the back of the net first following a corner that was scuffed around in the penalty box.
"I felt we had a really good spell in the second half and we were looking really lively and on top," explained Gunn. "Then UCLA had gone back on top and they managed to make the pressure count with a goal."
With less than 20 minutes to play following UCLA's opening goal in the 74th minute, the pressure was on Stanford to respond. A few minutes later, Carlo Agostinelli provided a cross from the set piece into a Keegan Hughes header that was blocked by the keeper, but Noah Adnan found the rebound and poked it home in the 82nd minute.
"Being a goal down with not too long to go, it's a tough tough spot," said Gunn. "I'm just so proud of how the team kept going and managed to get the tying goal and put us back on the front foot where we were feeling good and trying to push for the victory."
At the end of regulation, the teams were tied and set to continue in overtime. However, the head referee decided the pitch was unsafe to play on any further.
"In the end, the referee calls the game saying that it's unsafe, and I think everybody in the stadium is frustrated with that decision," said Gunn. "But I think when everybody thinks sensibly you can't argue with that decision and i fully respect his decision and his duty of care to the players."
Despite appeals from both sides, the match was finished as a draw after 90 minutes.
"As much as every player would have signed a waiver to keep playing, I can't argue with it,'' added Gunn. "Unfortunately the game has to end unresolved but at the same time i think it is an honorable tie between two great teams."
The Cardinal head back out on the road to face Oregon State on Thursday, October 28th at 3 p.m."