The 11th-ranked UCLA men’s soccer team got a goal from senior Reed Williams in the 74th minute, but it wasn’t enough as the UC Irvine Anteaters defeated the Bruins, 3-1, on Thursday night in Irvine, Calif.
The Bruins dropped to 3-2-1 on the year with the loss while UC Irvine improved to 4-1-2 with the win. The loss was UCLA’s first road loss in over two years, snapping a streak of 20 consecutive road matches without a loss.
The Anteaters got on the board first in the 10th minute, as Cameron Iwasa took a long goal kick from keeper Michael Breslin to start the play. Iwasa fought off defenders and eventually slotted one past Edwards to put UC Irvine up 1-0. That would be the only highlight of the first half, as neither side could muster a shot on goal for the rest of the half, sending the Bruins into the locker room with a one goal deficit.
UC Irvine kept the pressure on at the start of the second half, almost going ahead by two goals in the 53rd minute. After senior Victor Chavez recorded UCLA’s second shot of the match in the 52nd minute, the Anteaters moved forward and put four consecutive shots on net. After a team save and another save by Edwards, the Bruins got some help from the woodwork as Lester Hayes III hit the post with a shot, keeping the match at 1-0.
The Anteaters would eventually make it 2-0 in the 57th minute, when a UCLA foul in the box handed UC Irvine a penalty kick. Enrique Cardenas stepped up to take it for the Anteaters and converted to put the Bruins in a 2-0 hole.
The Bruins refused to give up though, and in the 74th minute were able to get one back when Williams headed in a free kick to the top left-hand corner to cut the Anteaters’ lead in half. However, UC Irvine came right back and scored three minutes later on another penalty kick goal by Cardenas, bringing the Anteaters’ lead back to two. UC Irvine was handed the penalty after a hand ball was called in the box. The Bruins were unable to muster anything for the final 13 minutes and they fell to UC Irvine, 3-1.
Junior keeper Earl Edwards Jr. made one save in the match for the Bruins while Breslin made none for Anteaters. Chavez was credited with an assist on Williams’ goal.
“We continue to be snake-bitten,” head coach Jorge Salcedo said after the match. “This time two penalty kicks against us on the road was too much to overcome. You create your own luck and we didn’t do enough positive things to earn a result tonight.”
UCLA (3-2-1) will now head back to the Los Angeles area for a big match this Sunday, as the Bruins will square off against third-ranked Cal State Northridge (6-0-0) at 7 p.m. at Matador Soccer Field.