Redshirt junior Eric Verso and sophomore Jordan Morris supported each other in a team effort, each scoring off assists from the other, to lead Stanford to a 2-0 men's soccer victory over San Jose State in the Cardinal's home opener at Cagan Stadium on Saturday night.
Verso's tally in the 25th minute was part of a dominant first half for Stanford, which peppered eight shots in the direction of San Jose State keeper Emmanuel Espinosa.
Morris, Zach Batteer and Austin Meyer had all attempted shots just wide of the goal before Verso buried his eighth career goal.
Morris was led into the box off a deft touch from midfield by Bobby Edwards and drove hard at the frame before dropping the ball to a trailing Verso. The Cardinal midfielder fired his strike across to the goal and beat Espinosa to the near post.
"Morris is the best college player in the nation," said Spartans coach Simon Tobin. "You play him with Zach Batteer and (Stanford) has the two fastest forwards in the country. They are match winners, special players. We gave Morris a couple of good looks and he came through for them."
Verso's goal was his second in as many games, the first time he's scored in back-to-back contests since the final two games of the 2012 season at San Diego State (Nov. 3) and at Cal (Nov. 9).
San Jose State's first shot came in the 30th minute.
"It was a great start and I thought we were really, really good in the first half," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "We took the game to San Jose State, created some chances, looked solid at the back and were definitely worthy of the 1-0 lead."
Morris' seventh career goal, and first of the season, came in the 87th minute and was a backbreaker for San Jose State, which had responded coming out of intermission in a frantic attempt to bury the equalizer.
Slater Meehan won the ball and handed it off to Verso in the box. Verso used a flick with the outside of his left boot to find Morris in prime position.
Morris started Saturday's match after missing Stanford's win over Omaha because of duties with the U.S. Men's National Team for its friendly against the Czechs in Prague on Sept. 3.
"Credit to them in the second half," Gunn said. "They went after it and had a couple of set pieces that were good testers for us and then had a couple of breakaways that were great chances. It was nice to see Andrew make some critical saves there that kept us in the game. It's a battle and it's a fight at 1-0. We managed to get together, keep it tight and then we got the insurance goal late that put away the contest. It was a hard fought victory and I'm proud of the way we played tonight."
Stanford will return to the pitch for its season debut on the Pac-12 Networks on Tuesday at 7 p.m. when the Cardinal hosts UC Santa Barbara at Cagan Stadium.