San Jose, Calif. - San Jose native Ricky Dorrego scored his first collegiate goal to knot the game at 1-1 in the fifth minute, but neither San Jose State University nor Stanford University could find the back of the net again over 85 more minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, as the area rivals settled for the tie in non-conference men’s soccer action at Spartan Stadium on Sunday night, August 31.
With the draw, San Jose State moves to 1-0-1 on the young season. The match served as the Cardinal’s 2008 opener, as Stanford goes to 0-0-1.
In a furious start to what was a particularly entertaining first half of college soccer in front of 613 spectators, the visiting Cardinal opened the scoring at 2:42. Senior forward Tim Montgomery turned in a Ryan Thomas corner kick from the right side at the near post, with the ball headed for the opposite corner for Stanford’s first goal of the 2008 campaign.
San Jose State got the equalizer just 125 seconds later. The Spartans earned a free kick outside the penalty area on the right side. Efrain Burgos, Jr., like Dorrego a sophomore midfielder, took a direct shot that junior Cardinal goalkeeper John Moore parried away. Colby Moore, San Jose State’s junior striker, shot the ball back in, only for it to be deflected out again, this time by a Stanford defender. Dorrego, a former standout at Lincoln High School, was first to the second rebound, and slotted a low, hard shot from outside the penalty box into the right corner behind Moore for 1-1.
“I was going to actually go to that first post, but I saw Hiroki (Akiyama) making that run, so I decided to stay back,” said Dorrego about the goal. “The ball luckily fell right in front of me, and I just tried to put it on target. Things worked out.”
The Spartans had the better of the scoring opportunities over the remainder of the evening. Junior Nick Cukar took a shot that required a Moore stop at 8:40. Less than three minutes later, fellow midfielder Josh Boemecke took a low shot at the back post that Moore saved off the line. Later in the period, Moore ran onto a bad back-pass attempt by senior Cardinal defender Ryan Imamura and played it into the middle, only for another Stanford player to clear it away before the Spartans could get a shot off.
The pace of play slowed somewhat after the halftime interval. The Spartans did have one last flurry with under a minute and a half left to play in the second overtime, but Cukar had his shot blocked by the defense and Boemecke’s attempt on the rebound was saved again by Moore.
San Jose State out-shot Stanford, 22-12, in the match, including 11-6 over the first 45 minutes and 5-0 in overtime as the Cardinal failed to earn credit for a single shot throughout the two 10-minute sessions.
The game ended with both teams having only 10 men on the field due to red-card ejections. San Jose State played with a man advantage for almost 54 minutes after Stanford team captain Michael Strickland, a junior midfielder, was shown a direct red by the match official for a hard tackle from behind at 33:54. The sides evened up again at 87:38 when Burgos saw red as well.
Burgos left the contest having produced a career-high 10 shots, almost matching Stanford’s team total. Five of those efforts were on goal. Cukar added three shots for the Spartans, while Stanford was led by Montgomery with four attempts.
San Jose State ultimately drew eight saves out of Moore, with senior Lewis Sweeney also going the distance and needing to make just a pair of back-to-back stops in the 87th minute.
Sweeney, Boemecke, Hiroki Akiyama, and the entire back line of Ed Brand, Oscar Monjaras, Sam Shore and Gavin Wenyon, played the full 110 minutes for the Spartans. It was the first time that Boemecke, a sophomore transfer from Saint Louis University, played an entire collegiate match.
“It was a classic Division I battle between two very good teams,” commented 19th-year Spartan head coach Gary St. Clair following the match. “I think the fans got their money’s worth. It was a very exciting game from where I was. We were a bit unfortunate not to win it. We nearly out-shot them two to one. They are a very good side. We are a very good side. It was quite entertaining. At the end of the day, a draw with Stanford, or for Stanford a draw with us, I think both teams will come out satisfied.
“I told (our players) at halftime that the most dangerous team is a team that’s a man down,” St. Clair added. “You have to be very, very careful with that. Stanford made the proper changes. They dropped back and played a low-pressure (game). I think that kind of threw us off our game for a little while. I think the second half was Stanford’s better half. You get in a game like this, and you’re missing chances, and the anxiety starts getting higher and higher, and the players want to go and they can taste that goal, but sometimes, they try too hard. Whenever you are playing a man up or a man down, it can be difficult.”
“I think it was a pretty good game for an early-season match,” remarked Stanford head coach Bret Simon. “I believe that the San Jose State team is going to be a very good team this year. I really like the group in midfield, and I think that the center backs are excellent, as well as the goalkeeper. The whole group is a very strong group, so I think that at the end of the season, we are going to say that this was a pretty good draw. Sometimes, you look at a draw (and you’re disappointed), but I think that this one was good, particularly playing a man down for so long.
“I thought that the Spartans were a little bit stronger than us in the first half. Then we just kind of had to pull it together and try to keep our composure and stay in the game for a while, and I thought we were able to do that. So, I’m proud of our guys, but I really think that it was a good game for early in the season for both teams.”
San Jose State plays just one game in the week ahead, hosting Cal State East Bay in a second and final exhibition match for the 2008 season, on Thursday night, September 4. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.
Stanford (0-0-1) - 1 0 0 0 - 1
San Jose State (1-0-1) - 1 0 0 0 - 1
STAN - Tom Montgomery (1) (Ryan Thomas), 2:42
SJSU - Ricky Dorrego (1) (Colby Moore), 4:47
STAN - 12
SJSU - 22
STAN - 8 (John Moore-8)
SJSU - 2 (Lewis Sweeney-2)
STAN - 5
SJSU - 4
STAN - 18
SJSU - 16