UCLA men’s soccer to meet up with Cal State Fullerton for 1st time in 6 years
Junior defender Tommy Silva dribbles the ball. Silva has started in all seven games for the Bruins and logged two points on the season thus far. (Daily Bruin file photo)
Cal State Fullerton
Saturday, 7 p.m.
Wallis Annenberg Stadium
No TV info
By Nick Darrow
Sept. 24, 2022 10:18 a.m.
After opening Pac-12 play on the road, the Bruins will welcome an unfamiliar nonconference opponent.
No. 20 UCLA men’s soccer (4-2-1, 1-0-1 Pac-12) will match up against Cal State Fullerton (5-2-2, 0-0 Big West) on Saturday night at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. This will be the first time the Bruins will take on the Titans since 2016, when the blue and gold earned a 1-0 overtime victory.
Junior defender Tommy Silva said while not a single Bruin has faced this Titan team, it shouldn’t affect their play style.
“Our coaches gave us a scouting report,” Silva said. “But at the end of the day, we’re not too focused on them. We are more focused on us and the things that we can control.”
Last weekend, UCLA opened up Pac-12 play with two matchups in the Bay Area, starting with a scoreless draw against Stanford followed by a 2-1 win over California. With those four out of a possible six points, the Bruins now sit atop the Pac-12 standings after the first weekend of action.
Coach Ryan Jorden said those results were important, but the key to his team’s success is focusing on the future.
“They can’t get too excited about it. Obviously it is a good start for us, but we are only one-fifth of the way through,” Jorden said. “We have a very good Fullerton team coming in that we need to focus on and stay locked in for that matchup.”
Fullerton, a member of the Big West Conference, has yet to play a conference game but has played another Pac-12 foe, defeating Cal 3-1 in its home opener.
Midfielder Sebastian Cruz headlines the Titans’ team, as he has logged 20 points in his first nine appearances, including eight goals and four assists so far this season.
Graduate transfer defender Nicolas Blassou explained the importance of not looking too far ahead to conference play and focusing on the task at hand instead.
“We need to treat every game the same,” Blassou said. “Obviously we respect each opponent that we face, and Fullerton is a very good team, so it is another really good test for us before some more Pac-12 games. So we are going to give them our best and hopefully build some confidence before playing more Pac-12 games.”
After this matchup with Fullerton at 7 p.m. on Saturday, UCLA will have two Pac-12 matchups on the docket, when they face Oregon State along with No. 2 Washington.