Oct. 25, 2009

Courtesy of Stanford

Stanford, Calif. - Coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to San Diego State, No. 21 Stanford made a resounding response with a 2-0 upset win over No. 2 UCLA on Sunday afternoon from Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. The Cardinal improved to 9-4-1 (3-3-1 Pac-10) with perhaps their biggest victory of the season.

"This was a fantastic win for the program," said head coach Bret Simon. "Our players made a great turnaround after a difficult loss."

The Cardinal played with a passion and energy that was noticeable from the kickoff. However, UCLA was up for the challenge and showed why they are currently at the top of the Pac-10.

In the sixth minute, UCLA forward Kyle Nakazawa blasted a free kick on goal, but John Moore made a diving save. It would be a preview of things to come for Moore as he would have a busy afternoon.

Moments later Garrett Gunther had an opportunity to give the Cardinal the lead, but his header was saved by UCLA keeper Brian Perk.

Action continued at both ends with the next couple of chances coming from Stanford senior T.J. Novak. Novak who has played central defense all season was moved to an attacking position for Sunday's game.

In the seventh minute, Novak carried his dribble from the left flank, beat a defender, but his shot sailed wide. Eight minutes later he created another opportunity with his dribble and while his shot beat Perk it bounced off the left post and the score remained tied, 0-0.

Simon singled out Novak as one of the players that, "really stepped up in a different role."

Before the half was over, UCLA had a couple of excellent chances, but both times Moore was there for the Cardinal. In the 21st minute, Ryan Hoolingshead broke free inside the box, but Moore came out to make the save from point blank range. Then in the 33rd minute Moore made another diving save on a Nakazawa free kick.

The game went scoreless to the half with Stanford outshooting UCLA, 10-6. Moore made five first half saves against two from Perk.

Finally, in the 56th minute Stanford would end the scoreless tie on a corner kick. Garrett Gunther played a perfect service into the box, where Bobby Warshaw buried a header for his sixth goal of the season. Gunther picked up his first assist on one of nine corners on the game for Stanford.

Both teams continued to attack with Moore providing the anchor in the Stanford defense to keep the lead. Moore made four more second half saves to give him nine for the game.

In the 76th minute, Stanford would create some distance when a counter-attack would lead to the 2-0 lead. A long ball played forward found Taylor Amman, who controlled the ball and slipped a pass through to a breaking Evan Morgan. Morgan poked the ball past the keeper for this third goal of the season. The assist was the second of the season for Amman.

Despite the 2-0 deficit, UCLA continued to pressure over the final minutes, but could not create a chance to get back in the game. Moore earned his sixth shutout of the season and the 15th of his career.

Stanford outshot UCLA 18-16 in a game that did not lack for offensive chances. Nakazawa led the Bruins with six shots, including four on goal, but came away empty.

The win for Stanford allows the Cardinal to keep pace with San Diego State as the main challenger to UCLA for the Pac-10 Championship.

Next, the Cardinal will head back out on the road to the Pacific Northwest. Stanford will take on Oregon State on Friday, Oct. 30, at 5:00 pm and Washington on Sunday, Nov. 1, at 1:00 pm.