The Bruins Dominate the Aztecs with a 4-0 Conference Home Opener
Soccer News: In a dominant effort, the UCLA Bruins used four second-half goals to shutout the San Diego State Aztecs, 4-0, on Monday evening at Drake Stadium. Freshman Jose Hernandez led the way with a pair of goals, while Seyi Adekoya and Stephen Payne each pitched in one apiece. The opening three goals were scored in a span of just one minute and 32 seconds.
“Tonight was a good performance,” said UCLA Head Coach Jorge Salcedo. “We created numerous goal-scoring opportunities and the four goals were good goals. We had a solid performance throughout the 90 minutes and we look forward to a very competitive and important match against Stanford on Friday night.”
UCLA (6-5-0, 2-1-0 in Pac-12) came out of the gates and controlled play from the outset, generating numerous early chances. Less than three minutes into the match, Adekoya fed a ball across the top of the box to a charging Abu Danladi who cut left of the defender and into the box. The sophomore then let a low strike fly towards the far post, but Adam Allmaras made a diving save to keep the Bruins from the opening tally.
Four minutes later, it was Danladi to Adekoya creating another opportunity in front. Adekoya took a pass from Danladi and ran diagonally from the top left to the far right of the penalty area where he shot back across his body towards the left. The Seattle native beat Allmaras to the far side, but his attempt hit squarely off of the post and back into play, keeping the game scoreless.
Dominating play in the opening 45 minutes, the Bruins entered halftime out-shooting San Diego State, 6-1, forcing the Aztecs to make three saves.
Attacking early once again, UCLA garnered a great chance just four minutes into the second half. Adekoya trapped a pass from the right side of the field with his chest down to his feet, just right of the six-yard box, where he was covered by two defenders. He then quickly tapped a pass behind him to an oncoming Nathan Smith whose shot on net was once again denied by Allmaras with an athletic save.
The Bruins continued pressure finally paid off in the 60th minute when Adekoya made a wonderful run to put UCLA on top. Javan Torre led Adekoya with a well-paced through ball in behind the Aztec defender just past midfield. Adekoya then turned and sprinted down the left side of the field before cutting in hard towards the middle of the pitch. He took a low right-footed shot, as he was moving towards his right, to beat Allmaras and put UCLA up, 1-0.
Just one minute and 11 seconds later, Danladi was taken down in the box, earning the Bruins a penalty kick. The freshman Hernandez calmly stepped to the spot and buried the penalty to extend the UCLA lead to two.
Another 21 seconds later and it was Hernandez again scoring to push the advantage to three. Smith played an aerial ball down the right sideline to Willie Raygoza who took on a pair of defenders. The junior was patient and then played a smart chip pass in between the two defenders and on to the feet of a charging Hernandez. The Mexico City native did not disappoint and blasted a left-footed shot past Allmaras, extending the UCLA lead to 3-0.
The final tally came in the 75th minute when Payne scored his first career goal from the penalty spot. After earning the penalty kick himself, the freshman banged a confident strike into the back netting to put the Bruins up, 4-0.
San Diego State (5-4-2, 0-3-0 in Pac-12) was never able to generate any offensive momentum, totaling just three shots on the night. The Aztecs were consistently forced to play on the defensive and eventually fell to the Bruins.
Overall, UCLA out-shot San Diego State, 15-3, and earned four corners to the Aztecs’ none. Juan Cervantes logged his second shutout of the season in the win, while Allmaras made six saves in the loss.
Adekoya and Hernandez both now sit at seven goals each on the season which leads the Pac-12 Conference. Hernandez now also leads the conference in points, totaling 15 through the first 11 games of the season.
UCLA continues conference play on Friday when it hosts the third-ranked Stanford Cardinal at 8:00pm PT at Drake Stadium. The game can be seen live on the Pac-12 Networks and heard live on uclabruins.com. Tickets for all home matches are available and can be purchased online or by calling 310-UCLA-WIN.