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UCLA men’s soccer falls to Portland 1-0, breaks 3-game winning streak

UCLA men’s soccer dropped its first game in two weeks Friday, losing 1-0 to Portland. Senior goalkeeper Justin Garces allowed one or fewer goals for the fourth consecutive game. (Ariana Fadel/Daily Bruin)

Men's Soccer


By Nick Darrow

Sept. 11, 2021 5:01 p.m.

In their final game before their Pac-12 opener, the Bruins fell for the first time in four games.

UCLA men’s soccer (3-2) was defeated by Portland (3-2) 1-0 at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Friday night. The Pilots’ lone goal, which came in the first half, was the difference-maker in the contest.

The goal was scored in the 33rd minute by Portland defender Kevin Bonilla and was one of two shots the Pilots had on goal. The blue and gold were able to match with two shots on goal as well but weren’t able to put any in the net.

Senior goalkeeper Justin Garces said even though the Bruins lost, he felt good about the way they played.

“We dominated the ball for most of the game, and we had a lot of chances,” Garces said. “We unfortunately just weren’t able to capitalize on them and ended up with the result that we got.”

UCLA was able to create 10 corner kick opportunities compared to Portland’s three. Two of those chances came in the final 10 minutes of the game, as a header from freshman defender Pietro Grassi went wide in the 84th minute before a shot in the 89th minute from redshirt freshman midfielder Tucker Lepley was saved by Pilot goalkeeper George Tasouris.

Lepley said he wasn’t surprised with how Portland played but felt like his team was able to step up to the challenge and give a good performance.

“We knew coming into the game tonight that we were going to be facing a tough team, and they were going to give us a look we hadn’t seen before,” Lepley said. “But honestly, I really felt like the team had a good performance tonight – they just made things a lot harder for us.”

Even after the loss, the Bruins remain over .500 at 3-2 on the year and are coming off two consecutive shutouts as well as an overtime victory to achieve their first three-game winning streak since 2018. However, coach Ryan Jorden said his team’s performance was just short of where it needed to be Friday night.

“I thought we were decent on the night but just not quite good enough,” Jorden said. “In a couple of key moments that we needed to get the goal that was going to unlock the game for us, we just couldn’t, and it would have put us in very good shape.”

Late in the second half, the Pilots began to hold possession in an effort to put the game away, as they won two corner kicks and continuously kept the ball in the Bruins’ half until the final whistle.

UCLA will have a chance to bounce back as it begins Pac-12 play Thursday against No. 20 Stanford at home.

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Nick Darrow | Sports contributor
Darrow is currently a Sports contributor on the men's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis and men's volleyball beats.
Darrow is currently a Sports contributor on the men's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis and men's volleyball beats.
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