Pac-12 play has not been kind to UCLA men’s soccer.
After going 0-2 in its first two games against conference opponents, UCLA (3-5, 0-2 Pac-12) faces two more this weekend – Oregon State University (3-6, 0-1) on Thursday and No. 22 Washington (8-2, 1-0) on Sunday.
After getting shut out in its most recent games against Cal (7-2, 2-0) and No. 8 Stanford (8-2, 2-0), UCLA will make offense – specifically scoring early – a priority in its next two games.
“Scoring early gives us the ability to kind of calm the game down and just be more positive in everything we do,” said junior midfielder Anderson Asiedu. “We need everybody in the box to be very dominant.”
Despite the Bruins’ ability to control possession, scoring – and doing so early in the match – has been something they have not done well so far this season. The Bruins have failed to find the back of the net before their opponents in their last five games.
“We’ve been struggling in scoring goals – that’s our main issue,” said freshman midfielder Eirik Baekkelund. “We’ve been practicing our last third just to figure things out.”
The Beavers have also had their struggles so far this year, having lost four of their last five games, getting shut out in two. The Bruins were able to shut them out last year as well, and freshman defender Brandon Terwege said he’s confident in his team’s ability to repeat that result.
“We’re confident about every game; we don’t really look too much at the opponent,” Terwege said. “As long as we play our game and we’re strong … I think we’ll be fine against whoever we play.”
The last time UCLA faced Washington, it lost 1-0. And though the Bruins have dropped three of their last five, Asiedu said he isn’t phased.
“It doesn’t matter who we play,” Asiedu said. “We’re comfortable with everything we’re doing. … We can dominate and we’ve been playing like we can take the game.”
The Bruin’s best chance against the Huskies will be its defense. A highlight of the season so far, the defense has allowed no more than three goals in any of its games.
“If we play like we know how to play and shut them down like I know we can, then we’ll be fine,” Terwege said. “We won’t have a problem with their attack.”