After defeating Cal in overtime on Thursday, the Trojans suffered their first loss of the season to Stanford in overtime on Sunday afternoon, losing 0-1.
The Trojans didn’t survive overtime on Sunday afternoon, and the game against No. 1 Stanford ended in heartbreak for the Trojans as they lost 1-0, courtesy of a goal by freshman forward Sophia Smith.
McAlpine made a risky move to start the game with senior forward Leah Pruitt and redshirt sophomore Savannah DeMelo on the bench. The pair bolsters the offensive attack, combining for 11 goals and 10 assists over the first 10 games of the season.
Even after Pruitt and DeMelo joined the action, it was obvious by the half that Stanford was the better team. Within the first few minutes of the second half, the Cardinal created many dangerous chances that were either put wide or saved by redshirt sophomore keeper Kaylie Collins, who made three key saves and fended off 22 shots from Stanford.
The Cardinal looked dangerous in both the offensive third and the midfield and controlled the game in the second half. While the defense kept players like sophomore forward Catarina Macario off the score sheet, the Cardinal continued to apply widespread pressure.
As the game approached the end of regulation, the Cardinal created two chances from corner kicks that they nearly put away in the last minute of the game. Going into overtime, they took full advantage of the built momentum. Eventually, the Cardinal were able to score off a break away, and finish the game 1-0.
Three days earlier, the Trojans took on unranked Cal on Thursday afternoon, and managed to claim a late 1-0 win, courtesy of junior midfielder Ashleigh Plumptre’s corner kick in overtime.
“This game was a little bit of a struggle for us honestly. We weren’t playing the way we wanted to,” Plumptre said about the Cal game. “When we came off at the end, when we knew we had to go into overtime, we knew that we weren’t playing our best, but it’s about digging it out when there’s game like this. And I think that’s exactly what we did and it kind of showed in the goal. It was a bit of a scrappy goal, but we just tried to put our body on the line.”
USC managed to claim 25 shots within the game, but only forced four saves from Cal’s keeper. While the Trojans claimed a majority of possession throughout the game, specifically in the second half, it wasn’t the performance they were looking for against the Golden Bears. Both teams like to play possession based in the midfield, and despite the depth of the Trojans’ talent, they struggled to maintain control of Thursday’s game.
“When you have a day like today where you don’t play that well and you find a way to win you have to be thankful for that,” head coach Keidane McAlpine said after the game. “But it wasn’t to the standard of the way we like to play and what we want to do. Yes, we had a lot of possession there in the second half; yes, we created chances. But we didn’t play with the rhythm and tempo, or even some of the thought process that was necessary to win the game.”
The Trojans look to bounce back from this loss next week with games against Arizona and Arizona State on Thursday and Sunday, respectively.