UCLA Men's Soccer: Bruins Face a Stiff Challenge Today at #3 Stanford
The Cardinal are undefeated while UCLA is seeking its first conference win of the season.
The UCLA men’s soccer team (1-2-1, 0-1-0) is in Palo Alto today to face the #3 Stanford Cardinal (4-0-0, 2-0-0), in the Bruins’ second straight Pac-12 road contest of the season. Kickoff is at 2 pm PT. This game looks to be UCLA’s stiffest test of the season.
Last Time Out
Last Saturday in Corvallis, the Bruins matched up against the undefeated Oregon State Beavers, who were ranked #13 at the time. The game got off to a good start for UCLA, as freshman forward Grayson Doody put the Bruins on top in the 11th minute.
Unfortunately, it would be the only shot on goal for UCLA, and one of only two shots in the entire game for the Bruins. That was not entirely unexpected, as the Beaver defense had only allowed six shots on goal in four games, with only one finding the back of the net, prior to the UCLA game.
UCLA would hold onto its 1-0 lead until the 74th minute, when Oregon State’s Sofiane Djeffal would bring the Beavers level with an unassisted strike. Things got worse for UCLA less than four minutes later, when sophomore midfielder Luke Bone was shown his second yellow card of the match, resulting in a red card and him being sent off, leaving the Bruins with ten men to defend the 1-1 scoreline with 13 minutes left to play.
UCLA was not up to the task. After holding off the Beavers for seven more minutes, the Bruins cracked in the 85th minute, conceding the game winner to Javier Armas.
Playing only one substitute, to UCLA’s eight, the Beavers dominated the stat sheet, if not the scoreboard, registering 15 shots, six of those on frame. As previously mentioned, UCLA only had two shots, one on frame (the Doody goal). Oregon State goalkeeper, Adrian Fernandez, did not have to make a save in the entire game.
Stanford is undefeated on the season, scoring thirteen goals and conceding just one. Junior forward Zach Ryan has notched four goals, while sophomore forward Gabe Segal and junior midfielder Will Richmond have both found the back of the net three times. Segal scored the game winner 36 seconds into overtime in the Cardinal’s last win, a 1-0 victory at San Diego State.
Through four games, Stanford has only allowed 17 shots, with only 10 of those on frame. That is the sign of a very good back line.
Andrew Thomas has gotten the majority of minutes in goal, although Kyle Orciuch has also seen time between the posts. Between them, the two Stanford goalkeepers have combined for nine saves and recorded three clean sheets.
I hate to say it, but this does not appear to be a game that UCLA can win on the road against the #3 team in the nation. I liken it to Chip Kelly taking the UCLA football team to, for example, a game the horseshoe at Ohio State.
With all due respect to UCLA Head Coach Ryan Jorden, this team has not come together yet with the influx of so many new faces. It may not come together until next season, when the #4 recruiting class in the nation is integrated into the squad.
I think Stanford wins this game comfortably, by the score of 2-0 or perhaps 3-0. Bruins, prove me wrong! Any sort of a result against this squad on the road would be a huge boon for UCLA’s confidence.
UCLA Men’s Soccer (1-2-1)
Opponent: #3 Stanford Cardinal (4-0-0)
Game Time: 2:00 pm PT, Saturday, March 6, 2021
Where: Laird Q. Cagan Stadium, Stanford, CA
Live TV: Pac-12 Los Angeles and Bay Area with Troy Clardy
Live Stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app
Live Audio: None
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
This is your UCLA men’s soccer versus Stanford Cardinal game thread.