The light, drizzling rain that fell in the second half was hardly refreshing for the UCLA men’s soccer team Sunday night.
In a game of back-and-forths, the No. 24 Bruins (7-6-1, 3-4-0 Pac-12) ended up losing 3-2 against the No. 12 Cardinal (9-2-4, 6-0-1), their third loss in a row. The loss ends a four-game stretch against UCLA’s two rivals from Northern California, Stanford and Cal, in which UCLA went 1-3-0.
“Tough loss for us,” said redshirt junior midfielder Brian Iloski. “I feel like we deserved more out of the two games we played them, but it’s just the way the game goes sometimes.”
With a depleted defense – UCLA is still missing senior defender Michael Amick because of an injury – the Bruins struggled to hold their 1-0 lead.
“For one reason or another right now we’re finding ways to lose games,” said coach Jorge Salcedo after the game. “It was a game that we (had) in control with the 1-0 lead in the first half.”
It was after senior midfielder Felix Vobejda put the Bruins up 1-0 when things started to go south. In just over one minute, Stanford put two goals past UCLA with about four minutes left in the first half.
The first came when junior midfielder Drew Skundrich got his foot on the end of a ball that had been pinballing around the Bruins’ box and forced it into the back of the net. Only 72 seconds later, junior defender Tomas Hilliard-Arce headed an uncontested ball into the net off of a Stanford corner kick.
“A bad few minutes, and it’s 2-1,” Salcedo said.
Iloski managed to put an impressive volley into the bottom right corner of the net to tie things up in the second half, but the Bruins conceded the third Cardinal goal just over five minutes later. A Stanford counterattack ended with junior forward Foster Langsdorf tapping in a low cross from junior forward Corey Baird.
“We continue to give away bad goals and give away the ball in bad spots,” Salcedo said. “On their third goal, they countered, and that’s what they’re very good at.”
UCLA was inches away from tying the game in the 89th minute when freshman defender Reggie Cannon’s shot sailed just wide of the Stanford net, capping off a heartbreaking night for the Bruins.
“The team’s just generally been unlucky,” said Cannon. “We have the right assets, we have everything we need. … I know we’re going to fix it, I know we’re going to peak at the right time.”
The Bruins are back in play Saturday night at home against unranked Coastal Carolina.