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UCLA Men's Soccer: Oregon State Beavers Invade Westwood
With just three games left, this game might be UCLA's best chance for the Bruins' to get only their second win of the season.
Before I introduce today’s game, let that subhead to this article sink in.
With just three games left in the season, the UCLA men’s soccer team, a team with four National Championships and considered to be a United States college soccer blue blood program, has one win on the season. One. Against San Francisco.
They are 1-6-2 overall and 0-5-2 in conference.
I have tried to be positive in my articles this season, even (naively, in hindsight) predicting draws in such games as last Sunday’s 3-0 loss at home to Stanford or the 2-0 loss at Berkeley two weeks before that.
At this point, there is no way to sugarcoat the state of UCLA men’s soccer. This is historically bad. Even if UCLA wins out, it’s a highly unlikely proposition. With this game, UW on the road, and UC Berkeley at home, the Bruins would have only have four wins. Only six UCLA soccer teams have had four wins or less, the first four years of the program, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1948 (there was no soccer between 1940 and 1947) and 1951 and 1952.
The counter-argument that the 12-game pandemic-shortened regular season affected the ability of UCLA to win more than four games doesn’t hold water. In each of those six aforementioned seasons, UCLA played ten games or less.
This is a program with a proud tradition. Since 1960, UCLA only had three teams fail to win less than double-digit games, in 2009 and 2017 under Jorge Salcedo and in 2019 in Coach Ryan Jorden’s first season. Admittedly, Coach Jorden is still rebuilding from the ashes left by Salcedo and I do not discount the additional challenges caused by the pandemic. This has been a herculean task for the new guy.
But it has also been a huge disappointment for Bruin fans. And, now, those UCLA fans will be wondering if the highly vaunted 2021 recruiting class will get this train back on the track next fall.
It remains to be seen, but there is hope. In his last two stops, both huge rebuilding projects, including Pacific from no program at all, Coach Jorden made huge strides in his third year. Here’s to optimism about that third year!
Anyway, they are playing a soccer game today at Wallis Annenberg Stadium this evening. Kickoff is at 3 pm PT and puts UCLA up against the Oregon State Beavers.
Last Time Out
Last Sunday afternoon, UCLA was dominated by the Stanford Cardinal. Stanford scored in the 23nd, 42nd, and 68th minutes of the game in a workmanlike performance. The Bruins were outshot 20 to 4, 9 shots to 2 on frame.
AJ Vasquez’s 57th minute red card didn’t help things, but UCLA was already down 2-0 and was, by and large, non-threatening even before being reduced to 10. With the Bruins down a man, Stanford got its third and final goal by pouncing on a UCLA defensive miscue for a breakaway score.
In their two games this season, Stanford outscored the Bruins 7-0 and out-shot UCLA 40 to 9.
When the teams first faced off in late February, UCLA got out to an 11th minute 1-0 lead in Corvallis. But the Beavers equalized in the 74th minute, UCLA’s Luke Bone saw a red card in the 79th minute and the Beavers punished the Bruins 10-man squad, finally breaking through with the game-winner in the 85th minute.
Both teams have had their challenges since that time. UCLA has lost four and tied one since that cold day in Corvallis and the Bruins find themselves at the bottom of the Pac-12 table.
The Beavers have won two and lost three, but still find themselves with a 7-3 overall record and challenging for a postseason berth. All three of OSU’s losses have been by only one goal.
The Beavers have scored 25 goals on the season on 168 shots. UCLA, by comparison, has scored 7 goals on 82 shots.
For me, everything points to an Oregon State victory by the score of 2-1.
UCLA Men’s Soccer (1-6-2)
Opponent: Oregon State Beavers (7-3-0)
Game Time: 3:00 pm PT, Saturday, April 3, 2021
Where: Wallis Annenberg Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Live TV: Pac-12 Los Angeles
Live Stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app
Live Audio: uclabruins.com with Nick Koop
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
This is your UCLA men’s soccer versus Oregon State game thread.