The Bruins are set for more matches against ranked opponents – this time on their home turf.
UCLA men’s soccer (1-1) is slated to go against No. 3 Maryland (1-1) – the reigning national champion – and No. 6 Georgetown (2-0) on Friday and Monday, respectively, in the Bruins’ first two regular season contests at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.
“We knew that our first two weekends were going to be really good games,” said coach Ryan Jorden. “We were excited to play to big games last weekend and now we’re excited to be at home and have two big games this weekend.”
UCLA is 3-6-2 all-time against the Terrapins. The last time the teams met was last season in College Park, Maryland, when the Bruins took the match 1-0.
Then-No.11-seeded Maryland emerged as the champion in last year’s NCAA tournament, posting upset wins over then-No. 6 Duke and then-No. 3 Kentucky en route to the program’s fourth national title. In the first two games of its title defense this year, Maryland played on both sides of a shutout, blanking Southern Florida 1-0 in its opener, but failing to find the back of the net in its 2-0 loss to No. 7 Viriginia.
The Hoyas boast a 3-0 all-time record against the Bruins.
Georgetown has yet to lose this season and has allowed one goal in its two games so far. The Hoyas pulled off a 3-1 win against Syracuse in their first bit of action and are coming off a 3-0 shutout over Temple.
In UCLA’s opening weekend, the Bruins edged Northwestern in a 1-0 overtime win and took No. 2 Indiana to double overtime before giving up the golden goal in the 105th minute to give the Hoosiers a 2-1 victory.
UCLA allowed the opposition to take more shots in both games. Against the Wildcats, the Bruins were outshot 17-14 and 7-4 in chances on goal. The Hoosiers put up 15 attempts, six of them on target, compared to UCLA’s 10 shots and five chances on goal.
Junior defender Ben Reveno – who started in both games – said defense has been a focal point in training this week.
“Facing two top-10 teams won’t be easy, but it’s a great opportunity to prove ourselves” Reveno said. “We can improve in everything, but I think if we’re all on the same page, then we will get the results we want.”
Despite the 32 shot attempts allowed over their first two games, the Bruins didn’t allow a goal until a little under 150 minutes into the season.
Redshirt senior forward Blayne Martinez said mental lapses aside, UCLA grew as a team and its players are looking forward to showing what they are capable of.
“I think we’re very confident heading into the games this weekend,” Martinez said. “Every time we step onto the field, it’s a chance to prove ourselves. We believe in what we’ve established of how we want to play, and if we all buy into the process, we’ll have a great season.”
UCLA’s match against the Terrapins kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. and the game against the Hoyas is set for Monday at 5 p.m.