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UCLA men’s soccer stays scoreless in 3-0 loss to No. 9 Stanford

Junior goalkeeper Justin Garces picked up three saves Sunday, but was substituted out of the game midway through the second half after conceding three goals. (Esther Ma/Daily Bruin)

Men's Soccer

No. 7 Stanford3

By Emily Vu

March 29, 2021 6:47 p.m.

For the second time this season, the Bruins saw red.

UCLA men’s soccer (1-6-2, 0-5-2 Pac-12) fell 3-0 to No. 9 Stanford (7-1-1, 5-1-1) at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Sunday – finishing the 90 minutes of regulation with 10 men on the pitch.

The Bruins created chances early in the game with shots on target by junior midfielder Cody Sundquist and redshirt sophomore midfielder Jose Sosa in the 22nd and 25th minutes, respectively. The two attempts would be the team’s only shots on frame throughout the 90 minutes.

In the 23rd minute, Stanford got on the board after forward Zach Ryan capitalized on his first shot of the game and slotted the ball past junior goalkeeper Justin Garces to the far post, putting the Cardinal up 1-0.

Stanford’s lead later doubled with three minutes remaining in the first half when forward Rhys De Sota converted a tap-in off a series of passes coming as a result of a UCLA turnover.

Coach Ryan Jorden said the team entered halftime with some positivity despite errors at the backline.

“We got punished for two bad defending mistakes in the first half and if I’m honest, we created the best chances at that point with the one-on-one,” Jordan said. “I think in general, for the bulk of the first half outside of those two moments, I felt really good about what we did.”

In its last match against San Diego State, UCLA overcame a two-goal deficit to bring the game level and win a point after 90 minutes of regulation and two overtime periods. While Sosa said the team had confidence in overcoming a similar deficit in Sunday’s match, a Bruin ejection shortly after halftime put the home side down a man with over 30 minutes left to play.

In the 57th minute, redshirt sophomore defender AJ Vasquez was shown a red card for making a sliding tackle outside of the Bruins’ 18-yard box in an attempt to halt a Cardinal goal-scoring breakaway opportunity.

“We don’t agree with the call that was given,” Sosa said. “We thought it was a bit questionable given that there was something similar that happened to us in the first half against them. We just had to keep on fighting and go against something that we don’t believe was the right call.”

Moments after the ejection, a pair of diving saves from Garces kept the Bruins within range of a two-goal comeback. The gap was widened shortly afterward in the 68th minute, however, when forward Gabe Segal capitalized on a misdirected back pass from the UCLA defense that brought the visiting side up 3-0 – a lead it maintained until the final whistle.

Despite the scoreless defeat, Garces said the team’s response after the red card could help its mentality approaching a pair of top-5 Pac-12 matchups.

“It’s pretty much about keeping the guys’ heads in the game and realizing we can still get the job done that we want,” Garces said. “I think we were able to do that (by) creating chances in the second half like we did, and it can help confidence going forward.”

UCLA is scheduled to face No. 3 Oregon State and No. 4 Washington in its next two matches April 3 and April 8, respectively.

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Emily Vu | Sports contributor
Vu is currently a Sports contributor on the men's soccer beat.
Vu is currently a Sports contributor on the men's soccer beat.
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