After falling behind 1-0 in the first half, the 10th-ranked UCLA men’s soccer team rebounded with two goals in the final 15 minutes to upend the San Diego State Aztecs, 2-1, on Saturday afternoon at Drake Stadium. Freshman Kevin De La Torre scored the equalizer in the 76th minute while senior Victor Chavez headed home the game-winner in the 89th minute.
UCLA improved to 6-2-1 overall and 1-0-0 in Pac-12 play with the win while San Diego State dropped to 3-5-0 overall and 0-1-0 in conference play with the loss. The win was also the Bruins’ seventh straight over the Aztecs and extended UCLA’s unbeaten streak over San Diego State to 12.
The match started off slow for the first 24 minutes as neither side was able to generate chances. Then in the 25th minute, the Aztecs struck first as Jordan Ongaro scored off of a steal from Abraham Villon to make it 1-0 San Diego State. Ongaro’s goal proved to be the only highlight of the first half as there were no more chances from there and the Aztecs took their 1-0 lead into the half.
The Bruins came out with more intensity in the second half and had a great chance in the 55th minute, when senior Victor Munoz played a beautiful chip into the box to a wide open Leo Stolz. Stolz turned and fired the ball into the net, but he had been called offsides first and the match stayed at 1-0. In the 67th minute, UCLA caught a break when San Diego State midfielder Kody Duff took control of the ball at the top of the box off of a corner kick. Duff unleashed a shot that beat Bruin keeper Earl Edwards Jr., but the ball smacked off the crossbar and away from danger.
Then in the 76th minute, the Bruins finally found the tying goal when De La Torre tapped home a cross from fellow freshman Brian Iloski for his first goal of the year. The play started off of a counter attack with Chavez slotting the ball to Iloski on the right side of the box. Iloski then dribbled and put a cross towards the net. The ball deflected off San Diego State keeper Blake Hylen and fell right to De La Torre, who promptly finished for the goal.
Neither side could find the back of the net for the next 13 minutes, and with time winding down the match looked to be headed to overtime. However, Chavez would send the Bruins home with the win with a terrific header in the 89th minute. Munoz started the play with a great through ball to Stolz, who then managed to find his way to the endline. Stolz then stopped and flicked the ball up to the far post to Chavez, who managed to get around the Aztec defense and head home the cross for the goal. Eventually UCLA managed to run out the clock and walked away with the 2-1 victory.
Overall, the Bruins outshot San Diego State, 11-7, while Edwards made one save in the win. Chavez, Iloski, Munoz and Stolz were each credited with assists in the match as well.
“At the end of the day, it’s a win in the Pac-12,” head coach Jorge Salcedo said. “While it maybe wasn’t the best performance, it was gritty and we figured out how to win the match. As a group, we understand that we need to play at a higher standard and that’s what we’ll prepare to do with the Bay Area schools coming down next week.”
The Bruins (6-2-1, 1-0-0) will continue their homestand next week as they take on Stanford (5-2-1, 0-1-0) on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 5:30 p.m. before facing No. 1 ranked California (7-0-1, 1-0-0) on Sunday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. Both matches will be at Drake Stadium and televised live by the Pac-12 Networks.
Watch Kevin De La Torre's game-tying goal and Victor Chavez's game-winner