UCLA Men's Soccer: Stanford Comes to Westwood to Face the Bruins
Can UCLA build on the come-from-behind 2-2 draw on the road to SDSU last Thursday night when they take on the much tougher Cardinal this afternoon?
The UCLA men’s soccer team (1-5-2, 0-4-2 Pac-12) is back in town after getting a positive result at San Diego State, drawing the Aztecs 2-2 on Thursday night. This afternoon, the competition ramps up as the Bruins host #9 Stanford (6-1-1, 4-1-1 Pac-12) at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. Kick-off is at 2 pm PT.
Last Time Out
On Thursday night, UCLA dug themselves out a 2-0 hole and managed its second draw of the season versus the Aztecs. SDSU netted very early in the game, with Inigo Villaldea scoring a free kick first goal in the third minute. The Bruins would concede again in the 31st minute and it looked like UCLA would go into the half down 2-0, despite getting more chances and generally controlling the run of play.
But the Bruins gained some momentum going into the dressing room when freshman defender Tommy Silva scored his first goal in a UCLA shirt. The 40th minute goal allowed the Bruins to go into the half on a positive note.
In the second half, the Bruins would build on that, with UCLA transfer forward Kevin Diaz scoring the first goal of his Bruin career in the 79th minute, leveling the score sheet. Neither team would find the back of the net for the remainder of regulation and the game went into overtime, where neither team really threatened goal.
Although a victory, obviously, is always better, UCLA should be content to earn a draw on the road in the come-from-behind fashion that they did. The Bruins need to work on finishing. Despite the draw, UCLA recorded a whopping 25 shots on goal to only nine for SDSU. Eleven of the Bruins shots were on frame, but only two found the back of the net.
This is the second game in a row that UCLA controlled play and outshot their opponents. The UC Berkeley 2-0 loss was the other. The Bruins also scored for the first time in four games, having been shutout in their last three. This UCLA team needs to learn to translate these type of performances into victories
The shine is off the Cardinal a bit since UCLA last played them in Palo Alto, three weeks ago. The Bruins were boat-raced in that one, 4-0, but Stanford has gone 1-1-1 since that game and is on a two game winless streak. During this streak, the Cardinal tied UC Berkeley at home and lost to Washington on the road.
Still, the Cardinal are 6-1-1, are a top ten team, and will look to beat up on the Bruins like they did last time. Four different Stanford players scored in that game and the Cardinal outshot the Bruins, 20 to 5.
In the Cardinal’s loss at Washington, Stanford only had nine shots to the Huskies’ eight. The Bruins will look for a similar defensive performance this afternoon with Stanford away from home, but it does not appear that UCLA has the same defensive chops as U-Dub. So, such a performance would take a big effort from the Bruins’ backline.
UCLA has been playing better of late, but Stanford is still Stanford. I will go full Bruins optimism, despite my better instincts, and predict that UCLA somehow gets a 1-1 draw today.
UCLA Men’s Soccer (1-5-2)
Opponent: Stanford Cardinal (6-1-1)
Game Time: 2:00 pm PT, Sunday, March 28, 2021
Where: Wallis Annenberg Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Live TV: Pac-12 Network, Bay Area, 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 Stanford Cardinal game thread.