The UCLA Women’s soccer team opens up a two game homestand tonight against the Oregon schools, before finishing the regular season with three games on the road, at Utah, at #15 Colorado, and at #2 Southern Cal. This evening, UCLA takes on the Oregon Ducks, who have lost five straight games, all in conference, turning what was a promising 7-1-1 season into a battle to stay above .500.
After beating the Utah Utes in Eugene to kick off PAC 12 play, the Ducks have faced a tough gauntlet, losing to the Washington schools on the road, the Bay Area schools at home, and the surprising Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder. That is indeed a tough slate and the Ducks were competitive in four of those games, all one goal deficits, until the 4-1 loss to the Buffs. Although UCLA is expected to win this game, the Bruins cannot take the Ducks lightly.
Oregon has scored 16 goals this season, but 11 of them have come from two players: senior forward Marissa Everett (six goals) and junior forward/attacking midfielder Emma Eddy (five goals). The Bruin back line must keep those two in check.
On the other end of the pitch, Halla Hinriksdottir figures to get the start in goal, as she has started in all of Oregon’s games this season, and played all but 14 minutes, registering 42 saves and earning five clean sheets.
UCLA toughed out a win last weekend in Seattle against Washington, 2-0, and, as a result, two Bruins have been honored as players of the week.
UCLA’s ‘keeper Teagan Micah earned PAC 12 Goalkeeper of the Week honors after a clean sheet on the road at Washington, and Delanie Sheehan also was recognized for her performance in the 2-0 victory over the Huskies, meriting her selection as PAC 12 Defensive Player of the Week.
As the United States Women’s National Team beat Canada, 2-0, last night for the 2018 CONCACAF Championship (both teams already qualified for the 2019 Women’s World Cup) and, as such, both Hailie Mace (USA) and Jessie Fleming (Canada) will likely miss tonight’s game. There is an outside chance we see Mace (she only saw aaction in one group stage game) but Fleming played the full 90 last night. Both could see action in UCLA’s contest against cellar dweller Oregon State (2-12, 1-5 PAC 12) on Sunday
The good news is that Fleming appears to be healthy, scoring a goal for Canada while playing the full 90 versus Panama on Sunday (earning woman of the match honors), playing the full 90 in two of the three group stage games, and playing the full 90 last night against the USWNT. Hopefully, Jessie stays healthy and that carries over into UCLA’s final push for the postseason.
UCLA cannot take this team lightly despite its struggles of late. I know that I’ve been beating this drum over and over but, even without Mace, Fleming, and injured Anika Rodriguez, UCLA still has ample talent, more than enough to take care of the Ducks at home. If the Bruin back line can bottle up Everett and Eddy, UCLA should win. I predict that the Bruins prevail by a 2-0 score, with less goals than one might predict.
This is your UCLA Bruin Women’s Soccer versus Oregon Ducks open thread. Comment below if you have something to say about the game.