The Pac-12 regular season has been decided.
UCLA men’s soccer (7-8-1, 4-4-0 Pac-12) fell 5-1 on the road to the newly crowned conference champion No. 4 Stanford (13-2-1, 7-0-1) who clinched the honor with its victory Thursday night.
It is the fourth consecutive title for the Cardinal, but were able to celebrate the accomplishment on their home turf for the first time.
In the teams’ first matchup, Stanford won 1-0 at Drake Stadium in a physical contest that drew five yellow cards.
Following their final homestand, in which they went an even 1-1, the Bruins needed to bolster their resume during their three-game road trip in order to ensure good seeding.
Coming into the matchup, Stanford possessed the nation’s seventh best defense, allowing .53 goals per game compared to UCLA’s 110th-ranked 1.30.
The Cardinal have also only allowed one open-play goal all season, meaning that the rest of the goals given up have come from set pieces or penalty kicks.
Offensively, Stanford averages 2.07 goals per game, ranked 14th nationally, compared to UCLA’s 1.4, which is good for just 89th in the country.
From the opening whistle, Stanford’s high pressure scheme made it difficult for UCLA to create viable scoring opportunities while forcing turnovers in key areas of the pitch.
In addition, UCLA was handicapped by the absence of three starters: freshman forward, Milan Iloski, junior midfielder, Anderson Asiedu and redshirt sophomore defender Matthew Powell.
The game’s scoring began in the 11th minute when Cardinal forward Foster Langsdorf logged his 34th career goal from the back post off a deflected cross, tying the Pac-12 career goals record in the process.
Langsdorf then recorded an assist in the 37th minute when he set up teammate forward Amir Bashti for the second goal of the match, giving the home side a 2-0 advantage heading into halftime.
For most of the first period, the Bruins struggled to advance the ball into the wider channels of the field. However, they did have chances to score.
In the 31st minute, junior midfielder Kike Poleo tangled legs with a Stanford defender inside the 18-yard box and was awarded a penalty kick. Despite being a perfect 3-3 on penalty shots to that point, redshirt senior midfielder Brian Iloski had his attempt blocked by goalkeeper Nico Corti.
Stanford was by far the more offensively imposing team in the first period, tallying more than triple UCLA’s shot attempts with 14 compared to four.
The second half was marked by a still aggressive Cardinal side that continued to look to score.
In the 52nd minute, Stanford midfielder Sam Werner made the contest 3-0 with his strike from distance, beating sophomore goalkeeper Kevin Silva near post.
UCLA would score its only goal of the contest in the 63rd minute off a converted penalty kick from Brian Iloski in his second attempt from the spot of the night.
In the closing minutes of the game, Stanford scored twice to cap off its championship night.
UCLA’s road trip continues as they play their second-to-last game of the regular season against California (10-5-0, 5-3-0) on Sunday afternoon.