For the Bruins, the woodwork at Wallis Annenberg Stadium has been anything but their friend.
UCLA men’s soccer (10-7, 5-4 Pac-12) endured a 1-0 loss to No. 6 Stanford (11-2-4, 7-1-1) on Sunday at home for its fourth shutout loss of the year. The Bruins held possession for much of the second half, but none of the 21 shots they took over the course of the whole game found the back of the net.
Senior midfielder Anderson Asiedu hit a rocket off the left post in the 19th minute, renewing the Bruins’ historical rivalry against the goal posts at Wallis Annenberg.
Coach Jorge Salcedo said his team’s finishing reminded him of its loss to San Francisco.
“The number of times we’ve hit the post and crossbar here at (Wallis) Annenberg is unreal,” Salcedo said. “The same thing happened against USF, where we hit the post four times. Sometimes, the better team on a night doesn’t win, and we were the better team.”
Stanford recorded the majority of chances during the first half, as the Bruins retained possession and forced the Cardinal deep into their own box after halftime.
Forward Zach Ryan scored the only goal of the game in the 52nd minute by cutting in from the left, just outside the 18-yard box and slotting in a composed finish following a Cruyff turn.
Freshman midfielder Matt Hundley led the Bruins’ offense with six recorded shots in the game. Hundley put together several dribbles out of his own half to amass a game-leading three shots on target.
“Overall, it was a great team performance and we moved the ball well, but we were just unlucky to hit the crossbar,” Hundley said. “We created good chances, but we just couldn’t finish them.”
The Bruins lost to the Cardinal on Sept. 30 to wrap up a three-game road trip. UCLA finished that game with six shots compared to Stanford’s 11 in the 3-0 loss at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. Hundley reflected on Sunday’s loss in light of their previous matchup, saying that it was the Bruins’ toughest loss of the season.
Despite Ryan’s goal, senior defender Erik Holt produced a performance full of sliding tackles, headed clearances and through balls from his own half.
After the match, he said he was disappointed by the Bruins’ failure to convert their chances, but was optimistic about his team’s performance in its penultimate regular season game against Stanford.
“It was more of a pride thing for us, since they’ve won the last few years,” Holt said. “We play like that against anyone, nine times out of 10 we win. I think this performance will boost us, and we’re excited already for Thursday.”
With the NCAA championships about one week away, Salcedo and the Bruins will have an opportunity to close out the regular season with a win when they face San Diego State on Thursday night.