The UCLA Men’s Soccer team (7-6-1; 3-4 PAC 12) takes a break from PAC 12 play tonight at Drake Stadium in an unusual non-conference game in the middle of conference play. The Bruins face the Chanticleers--for those not in the know, a chanticleer is a type of rooster--of Coastal Carolina (6-5-3; 2-1-1 Sun Belt). Kickoff is at 7 p.m. PT. Here are the details of the game:
Opponent: Coastal Carolina
When: October 29, 2016, 7 p.m. PT
Where: Drake Stadium
The Chanticleers are unranked and play in the Sun Belt Conference. Their best win of the season came against a pretty good #25 South Carolina team, but they also drew #5 ranked Clemson, 0-0, which is a very solid result. Coastal Carolina is on a two game winning streak, beating Howard and Appalachian State.
The Chanticleers have scored 14 goals in their 14 games, but have only conceded 11 goals. Expect them to bunker down, rely on their defense, and play the counterattacking game against a UCLA offense that should dominate possession.
Junior midfielder Martin Mechor, who leads Coastal Carolina with four goals, will spearhead a balanced attack. Junior goalkeeper Braulio Linares-Ortiz has forty saves, a .60 goals against average and five clean sheets. Nice numbers.
The Bruins are in their "Salcedo swoon." Predicted to win the PAC 12 Conference, and after getting out to a 4-1-1 record to start the season, UCLA is 3-5 in their last eight games, and has lost three straight including the last two at home against UC Berkeley and Stanford.
What’s more, the Bruins’ record could be worse, as UCLA has "stolen" two wins, equalizing with :03 left against UC Santa Barbara and eventually winning in OT, and beating UC Berkeley in an earlier game this season, 4-3, scoring with :02 second left. Without those last second goals, UCLA could easily be 5-7-2.
Frankly, that is dreadful for a team with UCLA’s talent. Head Coach Jorge Salcedo is simply not getting it done. A loss tonight, and Coach Salcedo might want to dust off his resume. Of course, we all know who is boss is . . .
Nevertheless, UCLA should feast on the less talented Coastal Carolina and get back in the win column before finishing the season at Washington, at Oregon State, and at home against San Diego State. UCLA will only be favored in one of those games, against the Beavers. As such, if UCLA has hope of making the postseason, it will need a solid result tonight.
UCLA 3, Coastal Carolina 1. Bruins win simply because of their talent advantage and Coastal Carolina being very far from home, not because of any superior "tactics."