UCLA men’s soccer (3-5-0, 0-2-0 Pac-12) remains winless against ranked opponents after losing 1-0 to No. 11 Stanford (8-2-0, 2-0-0) at home Saturday.
In the final game of its three-game homestand, UCLA was shut out for the fourth time this season. In all but one of their five losses this year, the Bruins were held scoreless.
“On offense, I feel like at times we’ve gotta be a bit more aggressive, whether it be individual or as a team,” said redshirt sophomore forward Blayne Martinez.
In the first half, the Cardinal logged seven shots compared to the Bruins’ four. For UCLA, its first registered shot came in the 22nd minute when junior midfielder Anderson Asiedu attempted a shot from just outside the 18-yard box.
Despite the shot difference, the Bruins had their share of quality chances.
“We’ve just got to put away our chances,” Martinez said. “We had a couple chances to capitalize on them. We just gotta finish them.”
Asiedu produced the best opportunity of the first half for UCLA in the 31st minute. After dispossessing the ball from the Stanford midfield, he passed a through ball to freshman forward Santiago Herrera whose attempt was quickly saved by Cardinal goalkeeper Nico Corti.
Three out of Stanford’s seven first-half shots came in a two-minute sequence.
In the 34th minute, UCLA sophomore goalkeeper Kevin Silva passed a ball intended for one of his defenders, but the kick was intercepted by Cardinal midfielder Drew Skundrich.
Silva was able to recover and block Skundrich’s strike. Off the rebound, Stanford’s second attempt was saved off the line by Bruin defenders.
The third and final shot in the sequence landed in the back of the net.
A minute later, Skundrich was able to direct a cross from his teammate, midfielder Sam Werner, into the top-left corner.
“I think we just got a little unorganized, to be honest,” said junior defender Erik Holt. “But, to be honest, they didn’t really have many chances, good, clean chances.”
Going into the half, the Bruins and the Cardinal were separated by that lone goal.
In the second half, UCLA showed improved defense, preventing Stanford from logging a single shot.
“I thought we had some really good moments,” said coach Jorge Salcedo. “And we were good in two-thirds of the field. To not give up a shot in the second half, that’s absolutely a positive thing.”
Although the Bruins produced several opportunities and developed play from the midfield, they could not find the back of the net.
Through two conference games, UCLA has not been able to convert off of its usual advantage in possession and ball control.
“Today, coming back from Cal, we just weren’t very together in that game,” Holt said. “We weren’t very unified. But today, we stuck together and we had opportunities to make the game and to win. I think we just stuck together and gave ourselves the best chance to win, we just couldn’t score.”
The Bruins will play their next two matches on the road against the Oregon State Beavers and the No. 17 Washington Huskies.
“Losing our first two games here at home is not the way we intended to start the conference season,” Salcedo said. “And two games that maybe we could have won, and we didn’t, so we have to figure out how in those critical moments to be better and to execute better in the final third.”