UCLA men’s soccer earns 1st 3-0 start to season in 20 years with win over Liberty
Senior midfielder Riley Ferch accelerates toward the ball. Ferch logged two of UCLA’s five goals in its victory against Liberty on Friday night – matching his 2021 scoring output on the season. (Marc-Anthony Rosas/Daily Bruin)
|No. 4 UCLA||5|
By Lexi Grimes
Sept. 3, 2022 2:16 p.m.
The Bruins secured another victory en route to their first 3-0 start in 20 years.
No 4. UCLA men’s soccer (3-0) maintained clean sheets in its first two games of the season but allowed two goals in the first half of its match against Liberty (1-1-1). However, the Bruins defeated the Flames 5-2 in what marked their best offensive output in three years.
Coach Ryan Jorden said the reason why the team is able to perform at this caliber is because of the depth of its roster.
“We’ve got a very good quality and deep team,” Jorden said. “It’s great to be able to get guys the opportunity to come on and show that they can play in these games. We had good performances from guys coming off the bench, and that’s great.”
UCLA was the first team to find the back of the net in the game, with senior midfielder Riley Ferch scoring in the 13th minute off an assist by redshirt sophomore forward Jose Contell.
In the 27th minute of the game, Liberty midfielder Seth Clark launched the ball past UCLA sophomore goalkeeper Nate Crockford to tie the game at one apiece. However, the deadlock didn’t last long, with junior forward Andre Ochoa retaliating against Liberty less than a minute after the Flames’ first goal.
The Bruins held onto the lead for just over 10 minutes, however, before Liberty once again tied the score. Crockford attempted to clear the ball from the goalie box when the kick ricocheted off the shin of Liberty forward Gora Gora and was sent directly back into the goal. But with less than two minutes remaining in the half, Ferch notched his second goal of the game to give UCLA the lead once more.
Ferch said the team regrouped during halftime in order to fix its first-half mistakes.
“Coach just told us that we have to come out and play with more heart,” Ferch said. “We switched the tactics up to help us in the middle because they were overloading, and ultimately it paid off.”
While Liberty failed to score again in the second half of the match, UCLA recorded two more goals. Junior defender Tommy Silva found the back of the net in the 52nd minute, and senior forward Constantinos Michaelides recorded his first goal of the season in the 66th minute of play.
The five goals in this game are the most the blue and gold have scored since a matchup against San Diego State in 2019. It was also a change of pace from the first two games of the season, in which UCLA scored one apiece.
Silva said while the five goals are a great accomplishment, the Bruins still need to focus on improving their defense.
“It’s great to score five goals,” Silva said. “It gives us a lot of confidence, but at the same time, we want to focus on keeping the clean sheet for next time.”
UCLA faces Grand Canyon on Monday at 7 p.m to cap off its four-game homestand.