The UCLA Men's Soccer team (8-6-1; 3-4 PAC 12) has a tall task tonight as it will battle the #11 Washington Huskies (12-4; 5-2 PAC 12) on the road in Seattle. Here are the details of the game:
Opponent: Washington Huskies
When: November 3, 2016, 5 p.m. PT
Where: Husky Soccer Stadium
Washington is on a five game winning streak, with its most recent victory a 1-0 result in overtime against Stanford, the only team that is ahead of the Huskies in the PAC 12 standings. All three of UDub’s remaining games are in Seattle, but the Huskies would probably need to win them all (and hope that the Cardinal lose their sole remaining game, at Berkeley, last in the PAC 12).
The last time UCLA faced Washington, it was the conference opener for both teams at Drake Stadium on September 29th. The Bruins were destroyed by the Huskies, 4-0, with Washington getting on the board in the 2nd and 3rd minutes, taking an early 2-0 lead. Bruins fans thought that UCLA might be able to make a game of it when UDub midfielder, Corban Anderson was shown a straight red card in the 39th minute, but it only got worse for the Bruins, as Washington was able to score two shorthanded goals, one before the half and one in the second period. Although UCLA outshot the Huskies, 18-9, UCLA never found the back of the net.
Picked to finish 3rd in the PAC 12 preseason poll, UDub has exceeded expectations this year. The Huskies have a lot of young talent, and should be a tough out in PAC 12 play in the coming years.
The Bruins snapped a three game losing streak with a 3-1 win over Coastal Carolina last Saturday night. Sitting in fourth place in the PAC 12 and unranked nationally, UCLA needs to have a good showing tonight and in their last two games to ensure an invite to the NCAA postseason.
A good result in this evening’s battle against the Huskies would go a long way toward erasing the bad taste from UCLA 4-0 loss to UDub a little over a month ago, and would restore some credibility to UCLA soccer’s damaged reputation this season.
Hopefully Head Coach Jorge Salcedo will have the team prepared in the early moments of this contest, considered UDub established a 2-0 lead in the first 204 seconds of the last match. Further, UCLA is 2-0 their season while leading at the half so it would be nice if the Bruins could get on the board early, instead of having to chase a result. It is incredible that, in 15 games, the Bruins have only gone into the locker room at halftime with a lead two times.
I foolishly predicted a 2-1 UCLA win in the two teams’ last meeting. I won’t make the same mistake again. I see the Huskies taking down the Bruins tonight, 2-1, making the last two games critical for UCLA to earn an invite to the postseason this season.