Behind the Score:
Pac-12 win streak broken by Monday's loss
Games since UCLA gave up more than one goal
An eerie silence descended upon Drake Stadium moments before the UCLA men’s soccer game Monday night, as the crowd awaited the announcement of the starting lineups.
That didn’t change much over the next 90 minutes of playing time, as the Bruins didn’t give the crowd much reason to get loud during the game either.
No. 8 UCLA (8-2-2, 3-1-0 Pac-12) lost their first conference game in over a year and a half, falling 2-1 to Washington (7-3-2, 2-0-1).
The difference in the game was converting on opportunities. UCLA repeatedly got excellent looks on goal, but a whiffed kick, some deflected balls, and inaccurate shots left them scoreless after the first period.
“Sometimes that happens in soccer, where you aren’t kissed by lady luck,” said coach Jorge Salcedo.
Washington seemed to have stolen that kiss.
The Huskies were held to just one shot in the first half, but made it count, burying a laser of a kick past redshirt sophomore keeper Earl Edwards.
“That’s just unlucky and that guy hit a bomb, but I don’t think he could do that if he tried a hundred times more,” said senior midfielder/forward Ryan Hollingshead. “So that’s just stuff that usually doesn’t happen.”
Salcedo expressed some concern before the game about the Huskies’ dangerous throw in Â”“ and rightly so.
Washington’s throw in man was able to launch the ball nearly half the length of the soccer field off of a somersault throw.
This long distance attack gave UCLA several scares throughout the game and contributed to both of Washington’s goals.
“It’s unfortunately something that’s challenging to deal with. There’s no other way to put it,” Salcedo said.
The Bruins, and the crowd, finally showed some life towards the end of the game. After a goal in the 71st minute by senior forward/midfielder Evan Raynr, UCLA regained control of the game and played with more aggression.
“Being down two goals, we knew we had to come back and get another two goals to make this a game, so we knew we had to speed up the play and start pressing a little more,” said junior defender Joe Sofia.
The unsuccessful comeback was not for lack of opportunity.
As in the first half, the Bruins had great chances to score several times in the final minutes, but yet again, could not execute when they needed to most.
“At the end of the day, we were the better team. We had more opportunities, more possession and more corner kicks, but they took their two chances,” Salcedo said.
And at the end of the day, the score is all that matters.