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UCLA men’s soccer allows late-game goal, loses matchup against California

Five members of UCLA men’s soccer stand on the field. (David Rimer/Assistant Photo editor)

Men's soccer


No. 22 UCLA1
California2

By Nick Darrow

Oct. 22, 2021 4:11 p.m.

After an early first-half goal, the Bruins were unable to hold their lead – and their two-game winning streak.

No. 22 UCLA men’s soccer (8-5-0, 3-3 Pac-12) sustained a 2-1 loss against California (3-8-2, 1-5) on Thursday in Berkeley. The Bruins were coming off back-to-back wins against San Diego State and then-No. 14 Loyola Marymount.

In the 43rd minute, with the score tied 0-0, senior forward Kevin Diaz made a move down the field and the ball was played to redshirt freshman forward Jose Contell. Contell put the ball in front of the box and an own goal by a Cal defender gave UCLA the lead.

At the end of the first half, the Bruins had five shots compared to the Golden Bears’ four.

UCLA outshot Cal again in the second half – this time by a margin of six to four – but it wasn’t enough for the Bruins to keep their lead. The Golden Bears equalized the score in the 74th minute, as forward Fahmi Ibrahim scored a right-footed curler past senior goalkeeper Justin Garces.

Fifteen minutes later, with 80 seconds left in regulation, a shot from outside the box was scored by Cal midfielder Adrian Guzman, giving the Golden Bears a 2-1 lead before the end of regulation.

Coach Ryan Jorden said that his team had numerous chances to get a second goal, but weren’t able to capitalize on the opportunities.

“We didn’t take the number of chances that we had to be able to put the game away and get the second goal,” Jorden said. “We have to look at ourselves to see how we can improve to make sure we do that next time.”

The Bruins put pressure on the Golden Bears in the second half, with shots from sophomore forward Grayson Doody and redshirt freshman midfielder Tucker Lepley getting denied in the 52nd and 61st minutes, respectively.

There were 17 combined fouls between UCLA and Cal throughout the game, including multiple yellow cards.

Garces said the Bruins were used to the Golden Bears’ physical style of play but added that the team still needs to be better prepared going into its next match.

“We are very familiar with Cal and we are very familiar with the style of play they try to bring every game,” Garces said. “Looking at the physicality they brought, it is nothing that we haven’t seen before. We just need to look back and improve going into the next one.”

After the defeat, UCLA remains in third place in the Pac-12, one point behind Oregon State and three points behind conference-leading Washington. The Bruins will next travel to Laird Q. Cagan Stadium to take on fifth-place Stanford on Sunday, a team they beat 2-0 on Sept. 16 at home.

Graduate student midfielder Yoni Sorokin said Sunday’s matchup against the Cardinal will be important in terms of turning around the Bruins’ fortunes.

“We are just going to try and refocus to make sure that we execute the plan and keep more possession against a decent Stanford team,” Sorokin said. “It is important to stay focused in the Pac-12, as every team in this conference can put up a good fight.”

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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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