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UCLA Men’s Soccer Hosts UC Irvine After Tough Start in Pac-12 Play

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The Bruins return to Westwood looking to rebound after consecutive losses to Oregon State and Washington.

Don Liebig/asucla/uclabruins.com

The UCLA Bruins men’s soccer team (3-4) showed some promising signs early in the season that this team could be coming together under new Head Coach Ryan Jorden. It played three top ten teams and, although it did not win all of the games, UCLA won one game (vs. Maryland) and was competitive (vs. Indiana) in another.

Then, the Bruins opened Pac-12 play without scoring a goal in the Pacific Northwest, falling 2-0 to Oregon State and getting thumped 5-0 by Washington. It was curious because UCLA did much better on its Midwest road trip to Northwestern and Indiana to start the season.

Last week was a step backward for the Bruins but now they enter a stretch of eight—count ‘em, eight—straight homes games before finishing the regular season with three games on the road. First up is UC Irvine, with the Bruins looking to even their record with a win over the Anteaters.

Last Time Out

As mentioned earlier, UCLA was thumped by U-Dub last Sunday. The Huskies got on the sheet in the first minute. Then again in the 13th. The Huskies tallied one more time before the half to go up 3-0 at the midpoint. Washington then poured it on with two more goals in the second 45, the second of which was a converted penalty kick.

In a curious move, Coach Jorden gave redshirt sophomore Cameron Douglas his first career start as a Bruin. It didn’t work out and, after he let in three goals (with two saves), Justin Garces came in to play the second half, and allowed the second two.

The Huskies outshot the Bruins 11-0 in the first half and finished with 13 shots (seven on target, to the Bruins’ four shots (two on target).

It was an evening to forgot if you are a Bruin and so I’m going to stop writing about it; let’s turn the page and talk about UC Irvine.

UC Irvine Anteaters

UCI is a curious team. You’d think that, with a 2-4-2 record, UCLA should beat this team. Not so fast . . .

Although the Anteaters have four losses, they were all against quality teams. Two of those came to #1 Stanford, by the score of 1-0, and the other came against #2 Georgetown, also by the score of 1-0. That’s the same Georgetown that embarrassed the UCLA 5-1 at Wallis Annenberg Stadium a few weeks ago.

Another UCI loss was to #6 St. Mary’s and their fourth loss was to San Diego, who is 6-1, and although unranked, is receiving votes in the United Coaches Poll.

Interestingly, UCI has gone to overtime in its last three games, a win versus Utah Valley, the aforementioned loss to San Diego, and a tie versus Gonzaga. Squeaking out a win over Utah Valley and drawing the 1-6-1 ‘Zags is not so impressive.

So which team will show up in Westwood tonight? The one that hung with top teams, or the one that struggled against lesser competition?

Outlook

This is a tough one to pick. Both teams are struggling a bit, but I am going to give a slight edge to UCLA at home in a bounce back game. I think it will be close most of the game, but the Bruins eek out a win by a goal, either 2-1 or 3-2.


Go Bruins!