Bruins Dig Deep The Second Half and Earn The Win
Soccer News: Down to 10 men and three goals behind in the second half, UCLA found a way to rally back and defeat the UC Irvine Anteaters, 4-3, in overtime on Sunday evening at Drake Stadium. Jose Hernandez scored his second goal of the game in the 98th minute to seal the amazing comeback victory for the Bruins.
“You see a lot of twists and turns in every single game that we play,” said UCLA Head Coach Jorge Salcedo. “Today, the lows were pretty low and the highs were really high. The guys showed incredible heart, passion and enthusiasm to find a way to tie the game in the final minute of regulation and ultimately win the game. Being down to 10 men made it really difficult, but I thought it was apropos that Jose Hernandez scored the game-winning goal because he left everything on the field tonight. We look forward to next week and starting Pac-12 play with another tough match against Oregon State.”
UCLA (4-4-0) was struck with a huge blow early in the game when freshman defender Malcolm Jones was sent off with a red card just 13 minutes into the match. Jones was originally shown a yellow card after his challenge was deemed dangerous, but after further discussion between the officials, the card was changed to a red. The dismissal of Jones left the Bruins with just 10 men for the remainder of the game.
Jones’ absence was felt by UCLA as they struggled mightily to garner any sort of offensive attack in the first half. However, neither team was able to get on the board in the opening 45 minutes of play and the two sides entered the locker room knotted at zero.
The Bruins managed just one shot in the first half, with UC Irvine totaling five of its own.
UC Irvine (2-5-2) took advantage of the extra attacker in the second half and got the game’s first goal in the 52nd minute. Gerardo Gonzalez fed a perfect through ball into the box where a streaking Jaime Phillips got on the end of it to put UC Irvine on top. Phillips struck the ball back across the face of goal and into the far corner for the Anteaters early second half breakthrough.
Nine minutes later, UC Irvine extended its lead to two on a brilliant individual effort from Eduardo Calzada. The senior attacker avoided several UCLA defenders in route to the top of the penalty area where he booted a curling left-footed kick past Pepe Barroso-Silva to put the Anteaters up by a pair.
Another six minutes later and the game seemed to be coming unraveled for the Bruins when Ivan Canales put UC Irvine on top by three.
Down a man with everything seemingly going wrong, the Bruins finally got their first goal in the 69th minute from the red-hot Seyi Adekoya. The sophomore striker bent a perfect free-kick around the wall and off of the right post and in from 20 yards out to cut the deficit to two.
It wasn’t until the 84th minute that UCLA got their second tally, again thanks to Adekoya. Freshman Stephen Payne corralled a loose ball at the top of the box and hit a hard low pass into the feet of Adekoya, who was just a few yards out from the goal. The Seattle native then turned and slipped the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs to bring UCLA within just one goal.
With time winding down, it seemed the Bruins late effort would come up a little short. However, with under a minute to play, UCLA earned a free-kick from the left side of the penalty area that signified its last good chance to send the game to extra time. Chase Gasper stepped up to the ball and took the free-kick, banging the attempt straight off of the UC Irvine wall of players. The ball ricocheted back to Gasper who immediately sent a ball back towards the box where a number of players were waiting. Grady Howe leaped in the air and got a slight touch on the ball with his head back towards Hernandez. The freshman then volleyed the ball with his left foot into the lower right corner with just 10 seconds to spare in regulation.
In extra time, it was Hernandez scoring again to cap the improbable comeback for the Bruins. Fellow freshman Jackson Yueill made a terrific solo effort to spin around an Anteater defender and find Hernandez rushing in behind. Hernandez then took one touch and chipped the ball over the oncoming goalkeeper to send the Bruins to victory, 4-3, in the 98th minute.
Overall, UCLA was out-shot 13-12, but tallied three shots in the extra period, to UC Irvine’s zero. Making his first career start, Barroso-Silva came up with four saves, while UC Irvine goalkeeper Michael Breslin managed just one.
UCLA begins Pac-12 Conference play next weekend when they travel to play the Oregon State Beavers on Friday, October 2 at 1:30pm PT. The game can be seen live on the Pac-12 Networks. Tickets for all home matches are available and can be purchased by visiting uclabruins.com/tickets or by calling 310-UCLA-WIN.