The UCLA Men’s soccer team (5-8-2, 1-5-1 PAC 12) just completed a brutal eight game home stand that has all but mathematically taken the Bruins out of postseason contention. After starting that stretch with two wins and a tie, UCLA lost four and tied one on the back end of the home stand, going 2-5-1 as a whole while enjoying home cooking.
Now, the Bruins can only get into the postseason if they win all three of their remaining games, all of which are on the road.
It starts this afternoon at U.C. Berkeley (6-4-2, 2-2-1 PAC 12) in an early one, at 4:00 p.m. PT. The game will be televised on PAC 12 Los Angeles and Bay Area.
LAST TIME OUT
It is like a broken record for the Bruins. They out-possess and out-shoot their opponents, sometimes even those who are “better” than them, but UCLA cannot convert its chances in the final third. Then, on the other end, the Bruins look great for long stretches and then completely fall apart on defense and give up goals in bunches.
It happened again in a 3-2 loss versus Oregon State at home last Sunday. The Bruins out-shot the Beavers 15-5 (7-4 on frame). But Justin Garces only saved one of those four on frame, resulting in three Beaver goals. It is not all on Garces as the defense in front of him has surrendered 34 whopping goals on the year.
Also, the the first OSU goal was scored in the sixth minute of play. Giving up early game goals has been another bugaboo for the Bruins this year.
Senior Matthew Powell tied it up for UCLA before the half, 1-1, but Oregon State scored two goals within a little more than six minutes in the 64rd and 69th minutes (again, goals in bunches), putting the game out of reach even though Milan Iloski would convert a PK in the 78th minute to make it interesting.
The Bruins tied the Golden Bears earlier this season in Westwood, 3-3. The Bruins led 1-0 and 2-1, but then surrendered the lead, 3-2, in the 69th minute. UCLA equalized in the 83rd minute, to salvage a point at home.
U.C. Berkeley is 6-4-2 overall, and sitting at #65 in RPI, so they are squarely on the postseason bubble. With remaining tough road games against at Stanford, at Washington, and at Oregon State, as well as what should be a lay-up at home versus SDSU, the Golden Bears have a lot at stake too this afternoon and will be gunning for victory.
UCLA is 0-4-1 in their last five, all at home. Sadly, I predict that the Bruins will be eliminated from the postseason after today’s matinee game.
Believe me, I would love to eat Halloween crow if the Bruins can somehow win this afternoon to make it interesting going into Stanford on Sunday (a tall order, no doubt).