PALO ALTO, Calif. —Third-ranked Stanford men’s soccer, the owners of 10 NCAA appearances in the past 18 years and national championships in 2015, 2016, and 2017, faced the Denver Pioneers in Palo Alto Friday night. Stanford (4-0-0) soundly defeated Denver (0-4-1) 2-0 at Cagan Stadium. Stanford now owns a 5-0-0 record against Denver. Their last meeting was a 1-0 double overtime thriller during the 2018 season, also in Palo Alto.
Friday night’s tilt lacked the same excitement as Stanford controlled the midfield and wings to take a 2-0 lead into halftime, outshooting DU in yet another cold offensive performance by the Pioneers. While there was some question about a penalty kick call against Denver which led to the Cardinal’s second goal and a yellow card for head Coach Jamie Franks, the win was thoroughly earned by Stanford.
Denver came out of the halftime break with renewed energy and played Stanford even-up the first 15 minutes. The next 15 minutes Denver controlled the possessions with their most solid play of the night but still could not find net. The final third of the half Denver created several scoring opportunities but could not solve a stingy Cardinal defense who have only alliwed one goal in four regular season contests.
Denver could never solve the rock solid Stanford defense.
In the end, the two goal differential was an accurate reflection of the difference between the two squads. Stanford outshot DU 17-10 and led in shots-on-goal 5-1. Denver will look to carry their second half energy over to their road match Sunday when they face Cal in Berkeley. And, of course, a few goals would help.