UCLA Men's Soccer: The Bruins Head Down to San Diego Tonight to Face the Aztecs
The two teams are tied for last in the Pac-12, and each is looking for win at the expense of the other to get out of the conference basement.
The UCLA men’s soccer team (1-5-1, 0-4-1 Pac-12) heads down the 5 Freeway to San Diego today for a hump day contest versus the San Diego State Aztecs (0-4-1, 0-4-1 Pac-12). Kick-off is at 6 pm PT. Both teams are coming off of road losses, with SDSU losing 5-0 at Oregon State, and UCLA falling to UC Berkeley, 2-0.
Last Time Out
Last Saturday, the Bruins lost their fourth straight game of the season. This time, they fell to UC Berkeley in the Bay Area by the score of 2-0. The Bruins remain winless in Pac-12 play.
Unlike the past few games when UCLA has hung around for some time, this game was over quickly, with the two UC Berkeley goals coming early and within less than three minutes apart in the 14th and 16th minutes. First, it was freshman midfielder Evan Davila who found the back of the net and, then, it was junior forward Jonathan Estrada, assisted by Davila, who struck gold.
It was just that three-minute lapse that cost UCLA the game, as the Bruins otherwise controlled play. They outshot the Golden Bears 14 to 4, with four Bruins shots on frame and only two Berkeley shots on frame.
That’s right. Berkeley’s only two shots on frame were the two shots that went into the back of the net. UCLA goalkeeper Justin Garces did not make a save in this game.
The Bruins are now winless in six games, with their only win coming in the first game of the campaign versus the San Francisco Dons. UCLA just cannot seem to find the back of the net. The Bruins have yet to score a goal in the month of March.
San Diego State
The Aztecs are having just as bad of a season as the Bruins. The teams share identical 0-4-1 conference records with the one draw, a 1-1 contest, coming against each other on February 20th at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. Now, UCLA travels to the SDSU Sports Deck for the return match.
San Diego State has not yet won a game under new head coach Ryan Hopkins, who came from a blueblood program at the University of Virginia. Offense, or lack thereof, has been an issue. Like UCLA, SDSU has only scored five goals this season. Unlike the Bruins, most of the Aztecs’ scoring has come from one person, sophomore midfielder Blake Bowen who has scored three of San Diego State’s five goals.
Although Hopkins reeled in the #10 ranked 2020 recruiting class by Top Drawer Soccer, those freshman have yet to make a major impact for the Aztecs, which leaves a bit of an experience void in the squad since SDSU only returned four starters from last season.
Sophomore Tetsuya Kadona has won the goalkeeping battle over freshman Aiden Hanes, the latter of whom has only played in 17:33 of the campaign. Kadona has not necessarily performed well, allowing thirteen goals and making only seven saves. He does not have a clean sheet.
Statistically, these teams are very similar. The have identical, poor conference records. They have both scored only five goals. SDSU has allowed 13 goals, while UCLA has allowed 12.
These teams are also similar in that both are in rebuilding mode and are integrating new faces into the mix. Aside from a 5-0 pasting in Corvallis last weekend, the Aztecs have made closer contests of their games against those above them in the Pac-12 standings than UCLA has. With the Bruins only gaining a tie at home last time they played the Aztecs, I cannot predict UCLA will prevail versus San Diego State on the road. By the same token, I cannot predict an SDSU victory when that squad has yet to win a game this season. For some reason, it still feels like a stretch, but I am still going to predict another draw, this time by the score of 2-2.
UCLA Men’s Soccer (1-5-1)
Opponent: San Diego State Aztecs (0-4-1)
Game Time: 6:00 pm PT, Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Where: SDSU Sports Deck, San Diego, CA
Live TV/Audio: None
Live Stream: GoAztecs.com
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
This is your UCLA Men’s soccer versus San Diego State game thread.
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UCLA went down 2-0, but battled back for the 2-2 draw. A result on the road is never a bad thing. Can the Bruins build on this?
Stephen, as one who is very much on the outside with no insight, why are the Bruins so bad right now? Last place in the conference seems crazy. We railed on Salcedo for years for underachieving but it seems we've gone backward since. Am I wrong about that or what things am I missing in all of this?