An 89th-minute goal from Aaron Simmons was the winner for No. 6 UCLA and left Stanford broken-hearted as the Cardinal's upset bid slipped through its fingers in a 1-0 soccer loss Thursday night in Los Angeles.
Drew Hutchins/Stanford Athletics
It is just the third loss of the season for the Cardinal (6-3-1, 1-2-0 Pac-12), with all three of those setbacks coming against top-six teams.
"We know that we're doing so many things right, and we just keep believing in all the great things players are doing," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "We know that the season is just a journey where we're taking steps forward each time we play. Tonight was very tough for us to play and settle on the ball and credit to the Bruins that they managed to pressure the ball quite well. But that being said we did manage to put together some great sequences and create some outstanding chances. The most valuable player out there tonight would have to be UCLA's keeper, who made a couple of huge saves."
The game-winner was scored after the Cardinal managed to clear the ball out of the box, but UCLA's Ryan Lee set up Simmons whose effort deflected off of a Cardinal defender and past Drew Hutchins into the net. It was the second straight cruel defeat Stanford had suffered at Drake Stadium, as last year the Cardinal fought its way into double overtime before the Bruins scored the winner in a 2-1 triumph.
"We defended incredibly well and managed to be more productive in our attack," Gunn said. "Even though UCLA had the better possession, we carved out the better chances in a game in which there were very few chances."
Stanford earned three corner kicks over the final 22 minutes and for the match had five chances from the corner to just two for UCLA, but none came to fruition.
The Cardinal will attempt to rebound and grab three away points Sunday at San Diego State in a noon kickoff.
"Each game is a challenge and an opportunity, and once it's over we just look forward to the next," Gunn added. "San Diego State will be another tough game but we're confident that we'll be ready to play. I'm very proud of how we played tonight and how we confidently went about things in a game with a very tough opponent."