After a horrible 3-0 loss to Clemson last week, UCLA finishes non-conference play at home against CSU Northridge. A win would bring the Bruins to a 3-3 record before starting conference play this coming Thursday.
What the Bruins were hoping would be a night to remember, turned into a night to forget. UCLA fell 3-0 to Clemson, only the second time they have ever suffered a loss to the Tigers.
From the early minutes, it wasn’t hard to tell the Bruins were going to have a long night. In the first three minutes of the game, UCLA gave up a penalty kick and Clemson’s own Diego Campos converted to give the Tigers the lead. From there, the Bruins played catch up.
While the Bruins still had a chance to level the game and even take the win, Clemson put the nail in the coffin with two goals. The second came on a free kick in the ‘59th minute and the third one on a cross in the ‘81st. There was nothing the Bruins could do.
UCLA starts Pac-12 play on Thursday, but they need to get through Northridge first. The Matadors have scored 14 goals over a span of eight games with a 5-3 record. Their offense has charged through defenses and faces a Bruins team whose defense has struggled to contain opponents. The Bruins have now allowed 10 goals in five games. Their offense was off to a hot start in the early games, but has now cooled down. In their last games, they outshot Clemson 16-12, but only four of their shots were on frame. Their defense can’t stop the goals and their offense can’t make their goals.
The only stable part of the team is the six players Salcedo has all his faith in. In five games Brian Iloski, Erik Holt, Kevin Silva, Santiago Herrera, Jacob Santoyo, and Anderson Asiedu have started every game. On top of those six players, 16 different players have started in at least one match. While Salcedo has found a majority of his starting lineup, he’s still swapping around until he can find the perfect lineup.
While ranked teams have proven to be difficult for UCLA, unranked teams have been a different story. The Bruins play at home and against an unranked team. Tonight the Bruins should be able to pick up another win and even out their non-conference play at 3-3. Non-conference has been less than ideal for the Bruins. Tonight is their last chance to get back on their feet and on the right path before conference play starts.