RIVERSIDE, Calif. – No. 30 UC Santa Barbara played the final 25 minutes of Saturday's contest against UC Riverside two men down, but the team was still able to leave Riverside Soccer Stadium with a 1-1 draw after senior defender Kevin Garcia-Lopez had equalized for the Gauchos early in the second half.
His first goal of the season and second of his career, Garcia-Lopez put the ball in the net from inside the six-yard box with a first-touch shot off an Ismaila Jome cross. The 53rd minute tally erased an earlier 1-0 advantage for UCR (2-8-2, 1-2-1) and ended up being the final goal of the match. The Gauchos' record went to 6-4-2, 2-1-1 after the tie.
The Highlanders were the first on the scoreboard after Ulises Mosqueda headed in a Otis Earle centering pass in the 17th minute.
A pair of a red cards late in the second half put the Gauchos at a huge disadvantage going into extra time. Freshman defender Jeff Quezada was the first one dismissed after picking up his second yellow card of the game in the 74th minute. Junior holding midfielder Dylan Murphy was assigned a straight red in the 85th minute.
Despite the two-man disadvantage, the Gauchos were still able to keep the Highlanders off the board for the duration of the match.
UCR outshot the Gauchos 8-1 in the 25 minutes following the second red card, but only one of those attempts found its way on frame – a 98th minute Eric Gonzalez drive that was stopped by freshman UCSB keeper Brandon Berke. It was one of five saves for Berke, whose personal record went to 4-1-1 after the draw.
At the end of the night, the Highlanders accrued 22 shots, a season-high for a UCSB opponent.
Now unbeaten in 13 of their past 14 conference games, the Gauchos continue their season-long four-game road swing next weekend as they play their final non-conference game of 2014 at Loyola Marymount on Tuesday night before opening Big West North Division play at UC Davis on Saturday night.