Cardinal Tames the Mustangs
STANFORD, Calif. - The Cardinal earned an emphatic victory over SMU on Sunday night, defeating the Mustangs 3-1 thanks to three first half goals. Stanford improves to 2-0 on the season while SMU drops to 1-1.
"An incredible performance and a fantastic result," said The Knowles Family Director of Men's Soccer Jeremy Gunn. "SMU showed quality; they're a fantastic soccer playing team and when they pass and move, they're very impressive and exciting. So that's a game tonight that was won by our players being ruthless and clinical."
Like against Villanova, Stanford piled on the pressure early, winning possession and challenging the SMU defense. The Cardinal were looking to attack right from the first whistle and tallied the first three shots of the match within the opening seven minutes of play.
Carlo Agostinelli found the opener in the 16th minute after he stole possession from an SMU defender and placed a shot precisely in the bottom corner of the net.
"In the early stages, it was clear that these were two really good teams, and both teams when they attack are very dangerous," explained Gunn. "So for us to get first blood was fantastic and a wonderful solo effort from Carlo coming from hard work."
The Cardinal didn't let up after gaining the lead. Constant attacking pressure led to the second goal where Agostinelli delivered a perfect cross to freshman Fletcher Bank at the far post. Bank nailed his header to double the lead.
Another freshman, Liam Doyle, found the third goal of the game from a free kick just outside the penalty box. He connected sweetly with the ball, dipping his shot over the wall and back down just far enough to strike the crossbar on its way into the net.
"He's been doing it in training," said Gunn. "So we say before the game, you don't have to do anything extraordinary, just do what we've been seeing you do in training. He gets a lovely dip on the ball on the free kick and we know he can do it, but to execute in the game is a lot tougher. So well done Liam."
The Cardinal took the advantage into the break after leading in nearly every category in the first half. Stanford recorded four more shots and four more corners than the Mustangs to go along with the 3-0 scoreline after 45 minutes.
"We just finished our chances," added Gunn. "It wasn't a 3-0 at halftime type of game where you could ever feel comfortable because they have so much quality attacking."
The Stanford defense worked hard to stifle the Mustangs' attack, limiting the visitors to only eight shots during the match. SMU's lone goal came from a penalty kick in the 75th minute.
"Overall, a really good performance all around," said Gunn. "I think we're very sharp pressing a very good team, so that was exciting to see a good passing team under pressure when we're pressing well."
The Cardinal returned from halftime well in control of the match and brought the same ferocity to the second period. Stanford attempted nine shots in the second half, two more than it did in the first.
"On the attacking side of the ball, we looked exciting going at them," added Gunn. "I'm really pleased with the mentality tonight, really pleased with the work rate. The second game of the weekend, we looked fresh, we looked sharp, and we looked energetic."
Stanford has now outshot its opponents 33-19 to the start the season. The Cardinal are currently averaging seven more shots than its opponents, while nearly half of its shots are also on target.
"What a wonderful start to the season," said Gunn. "It's awesome to have two great games, two wins, and two wonderful performances."
The Cardinal return to Cagan Stadium on Thursday to face off against UC Davis at 3 p.m.