On Thursday night the UCLA men’s soccer team was riding a three-game winning streak. By Friday, that streak had ended.
The No. 6 Bruins (4-2-1, Pac-12) were ousted by the unranked Cal Poly Mustangs (2-4-1) 1-0 in San Luis Obispo, California.
The lone goal of the game came courtesy of the Mustangs’ senior forward Justin Dhillon in the ninth minute.
Overall, UCLA outshot Cal Poly but was unable to deliver high-quality attempts. Of the 10 shots that the Bruins took, only two were on goal. Compare that to the Mustangs who took a mere five shots on the night but three were on goal.
UCLA forward Abu Danladi continued his rampage after returning from a hamstring injury only a few weeks ago. The junior took six shots overall and had both of the Bruins’ shots on goal.
Other than Danladi’s shots, the next best chance UCLA had to score came in the 76th minute when redshirt junior midfielder Brian Iloski took a free kick. That shot, however, ricocheted off the right post.
On the defensive side, both goalkeepers kept pace with one another after the nine-minute mark.
UCLA’s redshirt senior goalkeeper Juan Cervantes didn’t falter the rest of the night as he had two saves while junior Cal Poly goalkeeper Eric Kam also saved two shots.
“Tonight we lost a game where we were better in all facets but the one that matters most,” said coach Jorge Salcedo. “Congrats to Cal Poly and their students. They gave them energy and great support.”
It is no secret that the Bruins have been playing in hostile territory with their two most recent games being away at soccer-loving colleges.
Friday night’s crowd was the largest for, or in this case against, the Bruins this season with an official attendance count of 7,032. The last two games combined saw crowds of close to 12,000 while UCLA’s two latest home games brought in only 2,000.
After this less-than-ideal ending for UCLA in nonconference play they will begin their Pac-12 conference play on Thursday against Washington.
The “Conference of Champions” is represented quite well in the top 25 rankings with UCLA, No. 11 San Diego State and No. 23 Stanford rounding out the rankings. Additionally, even the Pac-12 teams that did not crack the top 25 maintain over .500 records on the season.