Men’s soccer looks to extend win streak in weekend games against Stanford, Cal
Sophomore goalkeeper Justin Garces has started in all but one game for UCLA men’s soccer in 2019. Garces has tallied 30 saves and a save percentage of .625 but has allowed 18 goals during the campaign. (Liz Ketcham/Photo editor)
No. 7 Stanford
Thursday, 8 p.m.
Wallis Annenberg Stadium
Sunday, 4 p.m.
Wallis Annenberg Stadium
By Marcus Veal
Oct. 10, 2019 12:35 a.m.
The Bruins are on a two-game win streak and have the opportunity to stretch it to four this weekend.
UCLA men’s soccer (5-4-1, 1-2-0 Pac-12) welcomes No. 7 Stanford on Thursday (7-1-2, 1-1-1) and California (5-3-1, 1-2-0) on Sunday to continue its eight-match homestand at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.
“It’s not easy to bounce back from two losses (against No. 2 Washington and Oregon State), so we had to refocus ourselves,” said redshirt senior defender Matthew Powell. “It’s mostly been a mentality thing, and we were able to get back to playing like ourselves in the past few games. This weekend it’s all about matching the intensity of our opponents.”
UCLA hasn’t pulled out a win against Stanford in the past five years. In the last 10 matchups, the Bruins carry a 0-7-3 record against the Cardinal, and the last win by the Bruins dates back to the 2013 season.
Against the Bears, the Bruins won both games in 2018, earning the season sweep. Over the last 10 games between the two squads, each team has won five times.
The Cardinal have scored 23 goals on 170 attempts this season, the most in the conference for both categories. The Bears, on the other hand, have 12 goals entering the weekend, the fewest in the Pac-12.
Coach Ryan Jorden said UCLA will have two completely different teams stylistically this weekend.
“Stanford’s intensity, organization and methodical nature is gonna challenge us and we have to understand how to compete against it,” Jorden said. “The (California) game will have much more movement and we’re going to have to run. They’ll look a lot more like us than Stanford will, but the mental aspect of understanding which game you’re in will be important for us to have success.”
Stanford is coming off a week in which it was unable to pick up a win against Oregon State or Washington.
The then-No. 2 Cardinal suffered a 2-1 loss to the then-No. 7 Huskies in double overtime – their first loss of the season that resulted in the two teams switching spots in this week’s rankings. The next game against the Beavers also went to double overtime but ended in a 1-1 draw.
Against the same two Pacific Northwest teams, California came out with both a win and a loss. The Bears outlasted the Beavers in a 2-1 win Oct. 3 but fell to Washington 1-0 in the second game of the week.
After this weekend, the Bruins will have played every team in the Pac-12 for the first time. The conference sports two teams in the top 10, and there is a four-point difference between second-place Oregon State and fifth-place UCLA.
“Looking at the conference this year, they’ve all been doing really well,” said sophomore goalkeeper Justin Garces. “It will be a battle to see who can win it this year, but I feel very confident in the way we’ve been playing in the last few games. If we continue on the right path, I believe we can be right there at the top at the end of the season.”
The game against Stanford will kick off at 8 p.m. on Thursday followed by the matchup versus California booked for 4 p.m. on Sunday.