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UCLA Men’s Soccer Kick off the 2017 Season on the Road Against the San Francisco Dons

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The Bruins kick off the 2017 season against San Francisco.

Preseason All-Pac-12 pick Erik Holt looks to lead the Bruins past San Francisco tonight.

The UCLA Bruins hit the road for the 2017 season opener as the team travels up north to play the San Francisco Dons.

As stated in the season preview, this year is going to be an interesting year, to say the least. After losing some of their most valuable players, UCLA is going to rely heavily on underclassmen this season, which means there’s going to be a lot of growing pains. These growing pains were evident in their two exhibition matches over the past two weeks.

The Bruins first faced Utah Valley. With a fast start, UCLA got on the board in the second minute of the game and took a 2-0 advantage after a penalty kick was called in their favor in the 20th minute. After that, well there’s a reason a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead to have. The Bruins fell apart and let Utah Valley equalize. In hindsight, it’s not surprising. This 2017 UCLA squad is a young one. 15 players are underclassmen, which amounts to more than half of the team. That’s a whole lot of inexperience.

In their second and final exhibition match against Santa Ana Winds, UCLA once again took an early lead. Two of the Iloski brothers had a hand in the goal. Brian and Milan had a bit of a back-and-forth play until Milan put the ball into the back of the net. The goal is just a taste of what the Iloski brothers can, and hopefully, will give us this season.

When it comes to season openers, UCLA has a record of 5-5-3 and 2-1-2 in the last five seasons. Those are not the kind of numbers a team with this much talent should be yielding in season openers.

Tonight, the Bruins have a chance to improve their record. San Francisco finished last season with a 7-9 record and fifth in the West Coast Conference. While a win should be in the cards for the Bruins tonight, it wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t. Their offense starts off on a high note, but their defense can’t make the stops. Then their offense who started off hot cools down and can’t for the life of them find the back of the net. It’s frustrating!

In the season preview, I stated this season can be a make it or break it season for head coach Jorge Salcedo and it should be. With the amount of talent he has on the team, he should be yielding better results, but he hasn’t. His job should have been in jeopardy after the past two seasons as the Bruins struggled each season. Tonight’s game could set the tone for the entire the season. Whether that’s a good one or bad one, we will find out tonight.

This is your UCLA vs. San Francisco Open Thread!

Go Bruins!