The UCLA Men’s Soccer team (5-4-1, 1-2-0) continues its eight game home stand with the fourth of those games tonight against the seventh ranked Stanford Cardinal (7-1-2). The game is the second half of a doubleheader at Wallis Annenberg Stadium, with the women playing Colorado earlier in the evening.
The Bruins are 2-0-1 in the first three games of that home-stand, bringing their record above .500. UCLA fans should be excited about tonight’s game, especially those who saw the Bruins’ last action on Sunday versus San Diego State.
LAST TIME OUT
In that Sunday game against the Aztecs, the Bruins started off on the wrong foot, allowing Hunter George to get on the score sheet in the second minute, putting the Bruins in an early hole, 1-0.
After that, it became the Milan Iloski show. Iloski, who entered the game among the goal scoring leaders nationally, with nine goals, simply took over the game.
First, he drew the Bruins level in the 27th minute, converting on a beautiful through ball from Riley Ferch, dribbling around the ‘keeper, and calming left footing the ball into the open net. The Ferch to Iloski connection gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the 42nd minute, with Iloski one-timing an inch perfect cross from Ferch into the back of the net, again with his left foot.
UCLA would go into the half leading 3-1, but the Milan Iloski show was not over yet. Iloski earned the hat trick in the 65th minute on an assist from his brother, Eric, off a beautifully taken set piece outside the box, driving the ball (with his right foot this time) into the upper 90, and extending UCLA’s lead to 3-1. Then, Milan was taken down in the penalty area in 74th minute, and calmly buried the PK with his right foot, putting the Bruins up 4-1.
He wasn’t done. Iloski scored a UCLA record fifth goal of the game in the 76th minute, juking the Aztec defender and goalkeeper with his right foot, moving the ball to his left, and calmly slotting the ball home. Although the Aztecs would claw one back in the 89th minute, resulting in the 5-2 scoreline, it was a performance for the ages.
Check out all give of Milan Iloski’s goals below:
What an offensive performance!
Iloski now leads the nation with fourteen goals.
After starting the season 7-0 with a #1 ranking, the Cardinal has not won in its last three games, losing to Washington in double overtime, 2-1, and drawing both UC Santa Barbara, 3-3, and Oregon State, 1-1. Stanford will look to get back in the winning column versus the Bruins tonight.
Stanford is very balanced. Although there is no Milan Iloski on the squad, the Cardinal have seven players who have scored two or more goals. They also defend well, having only allowed eight goals on the season (although six of those have come in their last three games).
Expect to see sophomore Andrew Thomas in goal for Stanford. Thomas has played 850 of the 954 minutes of Stanford soccer this season. Thomas is exceptional, and is getting call ups to the USMNT’s U-23 team, which means that he could feature in the 2020 Olympics, should the team qualify (unlike women’s soccer, only U-23 teams can compete in the Olympics).
Along with Thomas, three other Stanford players were picked for the 11-member preseason All PAC 12 squad, senior defender Tanner Beason, junior midfielder Logan Panchot, and sophomore forward Zach Ryan, the latter of whom is tied for the team lead with four goals.
UCLA will face a tough challenge tonight. I am not sure if the Bruins are totally equipped to handle a team of Stanford’s caliber yet. On the other hand, anything seems possible with Milan Iloski up top. I am going to give the Bruins the benefit of the doubt, and predict a 2-2 draw at home.