The UCLA Women’s Soccer team (13-4-1, 7-3 Pac-12) will play its final regular season game of 2019 tonight and it looks to be a doozy. The 14th-ranked Bruins host 9th-ranked Southern Cal (14-3-1, 7-3 Pac-12) at 6 pm PT at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.
The winner of tonight’s tilt will finish second in the Pac-12 behind Stanford (17-1, 10-0 Pac-12), which finishes the season by hosting UC Berkeley tonight.
Tonight’s game in Westwood will be big for postseason seeding as well. Right now, UCLA’s RPI sits at #8 and Southern Cal’s is one better at #7. Depending on the results in other conference tournaments, the winner of this game could move up in RPI and get a better seed in the NCAA Tournament.
It is unlikely, however, that the winner will move into one of the top four #1 seeds and, therefore, neither team appears poised to hold home field advantage until the Women’s College Cup to be held this year in WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
Of course, no matter what the stakes, it is freaking UCLA versus Southern Cal!
The Crosstown Showdown.
The Battle of Los Angeles.
That’s reason enough to get fired up!
Last Time Out
UCLA won a pair of games last weekend in Oregon and have now won four straight contests. After dominating the Oregon State Beavers on Thursday, 4-0, UCLA held fast for a 1-0 win versus the Oregon Ducks on Sunday.
The lone score in Eugene was on a Lucy Parker poacher’s goal in the 25th minute. Check it out:
It was the second goal of the season for Parker, the center back who transferred from LSU, who has bolstered the Bruin’s back line this year.
UCLA’s senior goalkeeper Teagan Micah was perfect in the state of Oregon, earning her second straight clean sheet versus the Ducks and raising her season total to seven. And Parker’s performance up north in front of Micah earned her Pac-12 Defender of the Week honors.
The Bruins out-shot Oregon 20-4 (7-2 on target) and, despite the score, UCLA dominated the game and probably should have had a few more goals. Let’s hope that they were saving them for tonight. . .
Southern Cal Trojans
. . . Because they will need those goals tonight. The Bruins have scored only one goal in their combined four losses and are a combined 13-1-1 when they score in a game. If UCLA gets on the board, the Bruins figure to win the game.
Southern Cal has scored 33 goals on the season, one less than the potent Bruin offense, which has scored 34. The teams are pretty evenly matched, although UCLA has allowed five fewer goals than the Trojans this season, 18-13 goals allowed, respectively. Could that be the Parker effect?
Southern Cal gets most of its offense from two players—junior Tara McKeown (14 goals and seven assists) and sophomore Penelope Hocking (11 goals and four assists). If the Bruin back line can contain those two, who have accounted for 25 of the Trojans’ 33 goals, UCLA has a good chance to win.
Southern Cal is only 3-2 in their last five games with road losses to Cal and Washington.
I predict that the Bruins win at home. UCLA has won four straight and seven of its last eight, with the lone loss being a tough 1-0 contest versus #2 Stanford on the road in a tight game. I think the Bruins are peaking at the right time and will prevail against their crosstown rivals for the fourth straight season.