UCLA men’s soccer secures first victory following 3-game rut
Sophomore midfielder Riley Ferch picked up his first goal of 2019 in his second regular season start for UCLA men’s soccer. His goal put the Bruins up 1-0 in the fourth minute of play. (Axel Lopez/Daily Bruin senior staff)
By Marcus Veal
Oct. 2, 2019 1:32 a.m.
The Bruins got back in the win column Tuesday night after failing to do so for the last three consecutive matches.
UCLA men’s soccer (4-4-1, 0-2 Pac-12) grabbed a 3-1 win over UC Riverside (5-3-2, 0-0 Big West) behind the debut goals from sophomore midfielder Riley Ferch and freshman defender Constantinos Michaelides.
“I thought we defended better and we also passed the ball with a little more intent than we had previously,” said coach Ryan Jorden. “The byproduct is obviously that we had some better positions which led to better possessions, and it’s always nice to score three goals.”
The only goal in the first half came from Ferch in the fourth minute of his second collegiate start.
Redshirt senior forward Blayne Martinez had the ball out on the right wing and played it to redshirt senior defender Matthew Powell above the box, who then gave it to Ferch inside. Powell and Ferch tried to complete a one-two pass sequence but the ball was batted around by Highlander defenders.
The ball eventually found its way back to Ferch who was left unguarded before striking the bottom right corner of the goal – his first career goal.
“It felt great,” Ferch said. “I’ve been waiting a couple games to get it, but I’m glad I got it now and I’m even happier that we got the win, too.”
The next two goals for UCLA in the second half occurred 29 seconds apart from each other.
Michaelides doubled the lead for the Bruins in the 49th minute – his first goal as a Bruin – off a Ferch assist. After he made a defender whiff on a fake shot, Michaelides hit a curler from just beyond the six-yard box for the goal.
“It’s always a great feeling to score and it felt amazing to do it at this level,” Michaelides said. “What mattered the most was that we got the win and this gives us confidence for our journey to the championship.”
Junior forward Milan Iloski secured his ninth goal of the season on the ensuing possession. He was on the receiving end of a ball from junior midfielder Andrew Paoli. Once Iloski grabbed control of the ball, he sent a left-footed shot inside the far post to push the lead to three.
UCLA was just 60 seconds from pitching its first shutout until defender Uros Ilic put Riverside on the board in the final minute of action.
“We were silly at the end and conceded a goal after a corner in a moment that we shouldn’t have and we paid the price for it,” Jorden said. “A game like this, when you score three, puts us back on track to continue to push forward and advance our soccer.”
UCLA continues the eight-game homestand Sunday evening when it hosts Pac-12 rival San Diego State at 5 p.m.