A soccer game is 90 minutes long – but the UCLA men’s soccer team needed only two of those minutes to take care of business.
No. 13 UCLA (5-3-1, 1-1-0 Pac-12) put two goals past unranked Oregon State (4-4-2, 0-1-1) in a two-minute span Sunday afternoon.
“So good, so good,” was junior forward Seyi Adekoya’s reaction to Sunday’s win. “So good to get one: goals, and two: the win.”
Given UCLA’s 4-0 loss to a 10-man Washington squad just three days before, and previous loss to Cal Poly, the win stopped a two-game skid.
“It feels good to win,” said coach Jorge Salcedo after the game. “We were in control the whole game.”
While the Bruins dominated possession, they struggled to string together the correct final pass in the first half. It wasn’t until the 55th minute when UCLA broke the 0-0 deadlock, with sophomore midfielder Jose Hernandez comfortably slotting a pass from redshirt junior midfielder Brian Iloski into the bottom corner of the net.
The second goal came 115 seconds later when senior midfielder Felix Vobejda finished a string of clever passing with the final one coming from sophomore midfielder Jackson Yueill.
“We have a group that knows how to score goals,” Salcedo said. “We scored two really good team goals.”
The goal was Hernandez’s second of the season and for Vobejda, it was his first time on the score sheet this year.
“Thursday we were around the goal a lot, but weren’t able to penetrate,” Adekoya said. “We did a much better job of actually getting balls in and getting opportunities to finish, and finishing our chances.”
[Related: UCLA readies itself for Pac-12 play]
Salcedo cited the work of senior midfielder Willie Raygoza as a reason for the Bruins’ improvement Thursday night.
“Willie Raygoza did a good job for us,” Salcedo said. “He played as our false nine. By him holding the ball up, he creates more moments for us to get more guys forward.”
The false-nine forward is different from the prototypical striker – they are supposed to sit back more and pick out the runs of teammates toward goal. Raygoza’s performance as a false nine helped UCLA remedy the team’s struggles to penetrate the opponent’s final third from Thursday night.
The Bruins continue Pac-12 conference play this Saturday away at No. 22 San Diego State.