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Winning streak for men’s soccer ends with defeat to Grand Canyon

Junior forward Andre Ochoa dribbles the ball. The San Diego State transfer logged one assist in UCLA’s 10-man effort against the Grand Canyon. The Bruins dropped their first game of the season against the Lopes. (August Suchecki/Daily Bruin)

men’s soccer

Grand Canyon3
No. 4 UCLA2

By Ethan Ng

Sept. 6, 2022 12:34 p.m.

Down to 10 men, the Bruins’ perfect record was dashed.

No. 4 UCLA men’s soccer (3-1-0) fell to the Grand Canyon (2-2-0) 3-2 at home Monday night. The Bruins missed a penalty kick, had a goal disallowed and received a red card all in the first half before scoring two goals in the second half and ultimately coming up short.

The Bruins had numerous chances to seize the lead early. Back-to-back shot attempts from junior defender Tommy Silva and redshirt senior Kevin Diaz were turned away by Grand Canyon goalkeeper Leon Schmidt in the fourth minute.

Schmidt then saved a penalty attempt in the 15th minute before a cross from Lopes forward Shaun Joash met the head of defender Alec LaBarge in the 23rd minute to commence the scoring for the Lopes.

The Bruins’ misfortune piled on in the 37th minute after junior defender Grayson Doody was sent off for an attempted tackle, leaving UCLA a man down the rest of the way.

Coach Ryan Jorden said he believed in the quality of his team despite being down a player and a goal by the halfway point.

“At halftime, (the players) just needed to understand that we could totally get ourselves back in the game,” Jorden said. “It’s hard to play with 10 men and have to try to fight. But the fact that we fought with 10 men for an hour and scored twice is an incredible achievement for this group of guys.”

After some tactical changes, the Bruins answered with a goal in the 58th minute after a pass from junior forward Andre Ochoa sliced through the Lopes’ defense. Senior forward Constantinos Michaelides collected the ball, then rounded the keeper and directed the ball into an open net.

“Obviously, we had one less man, so we couldn’t possess the ball and outnumber people, but we still found moments to keep the ball and find areas to go forward,” Jorden said. “Principally, we found a little bit of a balance between directness and possession, and we ended up finding the back of the net twice, so I think it worked out.”

Ochoa, who played at San Diego State last year, said his focus in the second half was getting the ball in attacking positions as often as possible.

“We needed to get a goal early, so I was just trying to get the team forward,” Ochoa said. “My mindset was just to attack, so when I saw him (Michaelides) make the run, I played him the ball.”

The Lopes would regain the lead in the 68th minute after forward Zion Long slotted the ball into the net just outside the Bruins’ 6-yard box. LaBarge added his second goal of the game with another header in the 80th minute to put the Grand Canyon up 3-1.

Sophomore defender Pietro Grassi was able to pull one back for the Bruins with an 85th-minute header, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation.

Despite the loss, freshman forward Thomas Raimbault said he was satisfied with the team’s and his own performance.

“As a team, our work ethic and intensity was outstanding, and I’m really proud of the boys,” Rainbult said. “Personally, I’m happy with what I did with the time that I got, so I can’t complain.”

UCLA will play its first away game of the season at Portland on Saturday.

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Ethan Ng
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