UCLA continues a three-game homestand as they play host to the back-to-back defending champions Stanford.
The Bruins did not start off on the right foot in their Pac-12 opener against UC Berkeley. They lost 2-0 in front of a crowd of 3,286 fans. Once again, UCLA found themselves chasing after the equalizer in the first quarter of the match. They went down by one goal in the 13th minute after a shot rebounded off of Kevin Silva and fell right to the feet of Golden Bear Samuel Ebstein. Without hesitation, Ebstein scored and UC Berkeley took a 1-0 lead.
Once again, UCLA found themselves chasing after the equalizer. Only down one goal, it gave the Bruins a chance to come back. That was until the 57th minute when a ball was served into Bruins’ defensive third that they couldn’t get it out and UC Berkeley found themselves with a 2-goal lead. While the Bruins continued to try to score, their night, effectively, came to a close once the second goal went in. Reminiscent of the Clemson loss, UCLA outshot Berkeley but could not convert. This is a disturbing pattern that has been haunting the team for a while now.
Against Stanford, not converting their shots will cost them the game. The two-time defending champions lost their previous game but look for the win against a struggling Bruin team. Tonight’s game is a game against offenses. UCLA has scored 10 goals so far this season, while Stanford ranks 19th in points per game. It will all come down to which team has the best defense. The Bruins have been struggling with clean sheets while the Cardinal’s own Nico Corti has registered four shutouts this season.
In all honestly, I would be surprised if UCLA can even hold the Cardinal to a draw. Whether that be a 0-0 draw or 1-1, etc. Either way, the Bruins face the 11th-ranked Cardinal, who are out looking for a three-peat. Last season, Stanford defeated UCLA both times, including a loss at home.
Tonight, UCLA looks to avoid back-to-back losses in Pac-12 play. If they can’t find the win tonight, the rest of the season is not going to be a pretty one.
This is your Stanford at UCLA Men’s Soccer open thread!