No. 17 UCSB Falls to UCLA in Friday Night Matchup

Reed McKenna (Photo by Francis Lipinski)
Reed McKenna (Photo by Francis Lipinski)

LOS ANGELES – In the eighth matchup between No. 17 UCSB and No. 14 UCLA in as many years, the Bruins were able to come out on top 1-0 by virture of a second half strike from Leo Stolz on Friday night at Drake Field.

The Gauchos registered a season-high 15 shots on the match, but only two ended up on net. UCSB played with a man advantage for the final half hour of the game, but were unable to put a shot in the net despite creating a number of chances. 

Tim Vom Steeg's squad fell to 2-2-0 with the loss, while UCLA improved to 2-1-1 in the young campaign.

Both teams played relatively conservative at the outset of the match, as the Bruins were content to play a counterattacking style, perhaps testing freshmen Drew Murphy and Nick Depuy, who were both making their first career starts at fullback.

In fact, the Gauchos started five first year players against UCLA. Besides Murphy and DePuy, Josh McNeely, Ismaila Jome, and Paul Ehmann all cracked the starting XI.

UCSB did a good job of absorbing UCLA's wide attack, but the Bruins were still able to get the first dangerous scoring opportunity of the match when a Jordan Vale header in the 19th minute trickled just wide of the net.

UCSB got a similar chance in the 23rd minute, when DePuy was able to get his head on a Drew Murphy free kick, but the Irvine native couldn't keep his shot from going over the cage.

At the 17:07 mark of the first half, UCLA's Felix Fobejda had a shot deflected by Daniel Welsh at the top of the box, but had the ball carom right back to his feet. The freshman midfielder had a clean look at net, but McNeely was up to the task with the save. It was one of just two saves the keeper would make on the day, as the Bruins only put three shots on frame for the match.

UCLA got off to a hot start in the second half, creating multiple chances before scoring the first and only goal of the game in the 49th minute. From the midfield, the Bruins' Stolz received a ball and then proceeded to thread his way the through the left side of the UCSB defense and rip a shot past McNeely on a partial breakaway.

Off the restart, the Gauchos came tantalizingly close to an equalizer, but Goffin Boyoko's far-post header ended up just wide of the net. UCSB got another break in the 61st minute when UCLA's Nathan Smith earned his second yellow card of the day after a sliding challenge on Ismaila Jome, putting the Bruins a man down for the rest of the match.

UCSB would threaten multiple times with the man advantage, including dangerous drives from Ehmann, Jome, and Reed McKenna, but was ultimately unable to convert.

The Gauchos will look to get back into the win column this Sunday, when they welcome Penn in the start of UCSB's longest homestand since 2001. The Gauchos are an impressive 34-10-3 at Harder Stadium since the start of the 2009 season.

Loyalty scarves are now available for pickup for the first 500 men's soccer season ticket purchasers at the Harder Stadium Gaucho Shop location or on non-game-days in the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office located in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building.

For tickets to UCSB's remaining home matches, including a marquee matchup against Stanford on Sep. 27, click here