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UCLA men’s soccer shoots to elevate Pac-12 standing with wins over Stanford, Cal

Redshirt senior midfielder Jose Sosa prepares to strike the ball. Sosa has started in every game. logging three assists, one goal and five points on the season. (Jake Greenberg-Bell/Daily Bruin)

men's soccer

Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Wallis Annenberg Stadium
No TV info
No. 9 Stanford
Sunday, 3 p.m.

Wallis Annenberg Stadium
No TV info

By Lexi Grimes

Oct. 18, 2022 10:17 p.m.

The Bruins will close out their regular-season home slate against two familiar foes.

UCLA men’s soccer (7-4-1, 2-2-1 Pac-12) will host its final two home games of the season against Pac-12 opponents California (3-5-4, 1-3-1) and No. 5 Stanford (7-1-4, 1-1-3) on Thursday and Sunday, respectively.

The Bruins will start the weekend with a matchup against the Golden Bears, whom UCLA beat 2-1 in Berkeley earlier this season. The blue and gold hasn’t lost to Cal at home since 2017 and will look to complete the season sweep.

After taking on Cal, UCLA will matchup against Stanford on Sunday. When the two teams faced off at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium in September, neither team was able to score a goal, but this time around, the Bruins are looking to top the draw with a win at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

“Whenever we play Stanford, it is a really tough game,” said graduate defender Nicolas Blassou. “Last time, we came away with a point, and that’s something we can build on, especially with the team being more confident at home.”

The pair of contests against conference rivals mark the final games at home before UCLA finishes its season with four road games. The Bruins are 5-3 at home compared to 2-1-1 on the road thus far this season.

Redshirt senior midfielder Jose Sosa said the team wants to make sure it is in control of the pacing of the game whenever it plays at home.

“We got two good results in the last two games, so right now, the team has a very positive attitude,” Sosa said. “Since they are coming to us this time, we want to be able to dictate the way that the game is played.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Nate Crockford added that UCLA’s discipline in combatting Loyola Marymount’s press in Friday’s win has primed the Bruins for success against the Cardinal’s press.

“LMU pressed really hard, and Stanford likes to press hard,” Crockford said. “It’s a good sign to know what we’re going to do, and it helped us prepare for Stanford.”

The upcoming games are also critical in terms of Pac-12 standings. While undefeated No. 1 Washington is the clear Pac-12 leader, there are currently three teams – UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State – that sit behind Washington with a .500 conference record.

Coach Ryan Jorden said that while UCLA is in fair standing heading into the last six games of the season, every game the Bruins play from here on out is consequential.

“At this point in the season, every game matters a lot and every game is like a playoff game,” Jorden said. “We’re in a good position right now, but we want to continue to enhance that position, and so we’re going to approach each one as a must win.”

UCLA will face off against Cal on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. before kicking off against Stanford at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

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Lexi Grimes | Sports reporter
Grimes is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. She was previously a contributor on the beach volleyball, men's soccer and women's volleyball beats.
Grimes is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. She was previously a contributor on the beach volleyball, men's soccer and women's volleyball beats.
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