Highlanders Second-Ever Victory Over A Nationally-Ranked, Non-Conference Opponent
Soccer News: An own-goal in the 96th minute did the UCLA Bruins in as they fell, 2-1, to UC Riverside in overtime on Sunday evening at Drake Stadium. Freshman midfielder Jose Hernandez netted the lone goal for UCLA in the defeat.
“It was a tough loss again tonight,” said UCLA Head Coach Jorge Salcedo. “We’ve had three consecutive games where we’ve given up soft goals and that’s something we need to sort out. We need to understand that giving up bad goals is a recipe for losses. That’s something we need to get better with, continue to work on and resolve as soon as possible.”
In the first half, UCLA (1-3-0) controlled the time of possession, consistently putting pressure on the UC Riverside defense. However, the Highlanders garnered the first good chance of the contest in the sixth minute off of the foot of Norberto Ochoa. The senior forward let a shot fly from outside of the 18-yard box that curled towards the upper right corner of the goal. The ball seemed destined for the back of the net, but a leaping save from freshman goalkeeper Dakota Havlick kept the game scoreless early on.
The Bruins continued to push for the opening tally and eventually broke through in the 30th minute. Just one minute after coming on as a substitute, the freshman Hernandez netted his first career goal to put UCLA on top by a goal. A beautiful display of passing from Felix Vobejda and Jordan Vale allowed the senior Vale to get in behind the UC Riverside defense. Once in the penalty area, Vale slid a firm ball across the box to a streaking Hernandez who buried it in the back of the net to put the Bruins up, 1-0.
Less than a minute into the second half, the Bruins nearly doubled their lead off of a corner. Jackson Yueill bent a ball into the box where Larry Ndjock firmly head the ball on net, but Highlanders goalkeeper Vincent Morales leaped to deflect the ball over the crossbar.
With UCLA unable to extend its lead, UC Riverside (3-3-0) hung tight and battled for an equalizer in the second half. That tying goal finally came in the 71st minute when Ricardo Ruiz volleyed in a Michael Salazar cross. The sophomore Ruiz took the ball off of one bounce and hit a low powerful shot off of the hands of Havlick and in the net to knot the game at one.
Yueill had a late chance to win the game with a free-kick from just outside of the penalty area in the 84th minute, but his bid went sailing over the crossbar, signaling extra time.
In extra time, UCLA appeared to be the better side, maintaining much of the possession in the offensive third. However, the Bruins were caught on a counter-attack in the 96th minute which proved to be fatal. Ruiz raced down the right side of the field and cut in towards the top of the 18-yard box where Edgar Contreras attempted to clear the ball away. Contreras’ clearing attempt deflected back off of Ruiz and high in the air toward the Bruins’ net. Havlick backtracked towards the goal line looking to secure the ball as it was coming down, but the ball bounced off of his hands and behind him into the net for the game-winning score.
Overall, UCLA out-shot UC Riverside, 16-11, and earned five corners to the Highlanders’ zero corners. In his first career start, Havlick made three saves, while UC Riverside’s Morales made five saves. The victory for the Highlanders marks the first ever win over UCLA in 15 meetings.
The Bruins continue their home stand on Friday, September 18 at 7:00pm PT when they host the Cal Poly Mustangs. Tickets are available for all home matches and can be purchased by visiting uclabruins.com/tickets or by calling 310-UCLA-WIN. Fans can also listen to the game live on uclabruins.com.
Photo Credit: Jose Lopez