One minute and sixteen seconds into Pac-12 play, UCLA had already fallen behind.
In a mob of players in front of the Bruins’ net, defender Garret Jackson headed a pass off of a long throw-in from midfielder Steven Wright to put the Huskies up 1-0. Hardly a minute later, a second throw-in from Wright allowed Justin Schmidt to do exactly the same.
“Long set balls, set plays and long throws are their strongest point, and that’s exactly what they did,” said UCLA redshirt senior goalkeeper Juan Cervantes. “Unfortunately they got two goals off of that.”
The two header goals were only half the damage that the No. 16 Huskies (7-2-0, 1-0-0 Pac-12) imposed Thursday evening, as they took down the No. 13 Bruins (3-3-1, 0-1-0) 4-0.
UCLA appeared to regain its footing as the match neared the end of the first half. A shot from junior forward Seyi Adekoya, followed by a corner from redshirt junior forward Brian Iloski around the 40-minute mark came close, but the Bruins were unable to capitalize on their offensive push.
With one minute left in the period, a long range shot from Washington midfielder Handwalla Bwana passed the outstretched arms of Cervantes to add another goal to Washington’s lead.
“The third goal was a killer blow for us,” said UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo. “We gave the ball away in bad spots, and our defenders dropped off too much from their attacking players.”
From there, it was the Huskies’ game. The Bruins’ offense continued to push, accumulating a season-high 18 shots, but failed to put the ball past Washington’s goalkeeper Auden Schilder. Schilder had eight saves in the game.
“We had a few chances that we thought were going to go in for sure, and he did a good job of being in the right position,” Adekoya said. “He gave us a rough time.”
In the 38th minute, Washington midfielder Corban Anderson was issued a red card following a tackle. With its opponent down a man, UCLA added offensive pressure in the second half, but left holes in the backfield that allowed Washington to score its final goal of the evening.
In a two-on-one play in the 60th minute, Cervantes gave up a rebounded shot to Washington midfielder Joey Parish, who scored the fourth goal of the game.
“With them having 10 guys on the field, we tried to go up high,” Cervantes said. “Unfortunately their counterattacks were what hit us the most.”
The Bruins made their Pac-12 season debut short junior forward Abu Danladi, one of UCLA’s top players. Danladi has a team-high three goals this season and has put up seven points so far. He sustained an injury in practice earlier this week, and is out indefinitely.
With their first conference game behind them, the Bruins now look to this weekend, when they will face Oregon State (4-3-2, 0-0-1) on Sunday afternoon at Drake Stadium.