Men’s soccer to face UC Riverside in second game of homestand
Redshirt senior defender Matthew Powell said UCLA men’s soccer will need to take advantage of more opportunities that come the Bruins’ way against UC Riverside on Tuesday. Powell has recorded six shots on the season. (Liz Ketcham/Photo editor)
Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Wallis Annenberg Stadium
By Jared Tay
September 30, 2019, 11:50 pm
The Bruins haven’t seen their local foe, the Highlanders, in four years.
UCLA men’s soccer (3-4-1, 0-2 Pac-12) will take the pitch for its second consecutive home match Tuesday, facing off against UC Riverside (5-2-2, 0-0 Big West). The last time the teams met came in 2015 when the then-unranked Highlanders defeated the then-No. 8 Bruins, 2-1.
In the last meeting between the Bruins and Highlanders, an own goal by former UCLA defender Malcolm Jones ended the game in the first half of extra time. With that score, UC Riverside claimed the one-goal victory – its first program win over UCLA in the five-game history between the schools.
Coach Ryan Jorden said this time, he expects his team to keep a clean sheet when playing at home.
“Absolutely (I expect a clean sheet),” Jorden said. “Every time we come out at home, we should be expecting to be able to win 1-0. It’s our job to make sure that we don’t concede after that. We should be able to lock it up – even if we don’t have the ball – and get out.”
Tuesday’s game will mark the Bruins’ last nonconference tilt before they take on three Pac-12 teams at home.
UCLA’s last match ended in a 1-1 draw against UC Irvine. The Bruins were outshot 13-9 on the night, with three of UCLA’s shots coming in the second period of extra time. Redshirt senior defender Matthew Powell said the Bruins failed to take advantage of multiple opportunities while trying to break the 1-1 deadlock.
“We weren’t sharp enough on the night,” Powell said after Thursday’s match. “Defensively, there were mistakes, and even when we got into the final third, we had opportunities to have one more pass and maybe have a shot on goal. Even when we got into space for a shot, we didn’t take our chances.”
Junior forward Milan Iloski leads the Bruins in shots on goal with 14 – as many as the next four Bruins in the category combined. Despite his offensive statistics, Iloski said he will be looking to improve his play in the attacking third against UC Riverside.
“At forward, there are always opportunities that we will miss,” Iloski said. “We (watched) film on Saturday, and (we’re) training Saturday, Sunday and Monday to get ready and get back on track.”
Iloski leads the team in goals scored with eight, as many games as the team has played. The Bruins, however, have managed to tally just one score in their previous three games.
Midfielder Caio Guazzelli and forward Roberto Garcia-Vargas lead the Highlanders in goals with two apiece. Both have also tallied two assists on the year.
Over its nine games, UC Riverside has outscored its opponents 20-8 and has not conceded more than one goal in each of its contests.
UC Riverside has faced only one ranked team, then-No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast. The Highlanders won that match 2-0. Florida Gulf Coast has since dropped out of the United Soccer Coaches top-25 rankings after failing to pick up a win since Sept. 8.
Meanwhile, the Bruins have faced four ranked teams, three of which were ranked in the top 10 at the time. UCLA’s only win over a ranked team came against the defending national champions, then-No. 1 Maryland, which has also since dropped out of the top 25.
Kickoff is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m.