Georgetown (1-1-0) fell to a very impressive No. 4 Stanford (2-0-0) side which ran out 5-1 victors Aug. 27.
The Hoyas were looking to build off an impressive away win against the Santa Clara Broncos Aug. 24. However, the Cardinal, who dispatched the 2022 Men’s College Cup finalists Creighton 3-1 in their first game of the season, proved victorious.
Georgetown grabbed an early lead within the first 10 minutes thanks to sophomore striker Jacob Murrell. A searching ball over the top from sophomore forward Zach Zengue should have been easily dealt with by Stanford defender Noah Adnan, who, in miscontrolling it, played through the 2021-22 Gatorade athlete of the year Murrell. Ultimately, Murrell’s calm finish past the Stanford keeper was a rare moment of offense in a game that Stanford controlled well for the majority of the 90 minutes.
Stanford committed to a high press throughout the match, which led Georgetown’s defensive line to struggle to play out of the back effectively with the midfield being overrun and Stanford quick to cut off the passing lanes through the thirds. Former Mexican youth international and co-captain sophomore midfielder Diego Letayf, in particular, was harried all match and allowed no time on the ball at the base of the midfield.
Stanford’s front four were able to get close to each other and play some excellent patterns as they searched for an equalizer, which finally materialized courtesy of a long throw-in that was straight off the training ground. The ball came into the box and was headed back across the face of the goal before being nodded in from close range by Adnan, who made up for his earlier mistake just 11 minutes later.
Their equalizer was quickly followed up by an excellent team goal, resulting in a beautiful volley being fired past Georgetown sophomore goalkeeper Tenzing Manske from the top of the 18-yard box. Manske had no chance to make a save on the shot, which was rifled into the top corner.
Going into halftime down 2-1, Georgetown was still in the game, but the combination of the California heat and a passionate home crowd exaggerated the fatigue that came as a result of playing without the ball for long periods during the first 45 minutes.
What tired the Hoyas galvanized the Cardinal, who doubled their lead just two minutes into the second half with a brilliant piece of individual skill from midfielder Zach Bohane, whose creativity in the 10 position was a thorn in Georgetown’s side all game. He took the ball on the right and cut in on his favored left foot, caressing the ball into the far post despite a late sliding attempt to block it on the line from Georgetown defender Maximus Jennings.
The Hoyas were persistent despite being down and made use of junior left back Kieran Sargeant as an outlet while the midfield remained congested, often looking for quick switches of play and carries from deep in order to beat the Cardinal press.
As the minutes ticked down, it was clear it wasn’t to be the Hoyas’ day as play began to regularly decompose by the third phase or at the final ball. Stanford did not sit back at any moment and continued to search for more goals, with the fourth coming courtesy of a diving header from forward Jackson Kiil in the 60th minute.
Another from Stanford’s number 10 Bohane, this time a 20-yard freekick, removed any doubt of a Georgetown comeback and brought the score to 5-1. The result is a harsh reflection of the performance the Hoyas put in, who came up against a very talented and organized Stanford side that will no doubt be playing meaningful soccer matches deep into November.
It is not all doom and gloom for the Hoyas, who started the 2022 season with four losses in seven matches but went on to become regular season conference champions before falling in the second round.
They will hope to get back to winning ways in their home opener against Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. Sept. 1.