The sixth-ranked UCLA men’s soccer team got first half goals from senior Victor Chavez and sophomore Jordan Vale, but it wasn’t enough as top-ranked California got a golden goal from Stefano Bonomo 30 seconds into overtime to defeat the Bruins.
The loss dropped UCLA’s record to 7-3-1 overall and 2-1-0 in Pac-12 play. California improved to 9-0-2 with the win and 3-0-1 in conference play.
The Bruins took the early lead in the 13th minute, when Chavez put home a beautiful header to make it 1-0 UCLA. Fellow senior Victor Munoz started the play with a gorgeous cross into the box to Chavez, who timed his jump perfectly and headed home the ball to the far post for his fifth of the year. California would answer back though, getting a goal just five minutes later. After Luis Fuentes was taken down just outside of the box, Christian Dean stepped up to take the free kick for the Golden Bears. His kick deflected off of the UCLA wall and bounced into the open net, tying the match at 1-1.
Things slowed down a little bit from there, but the Bruins were still able to control the majority of possession and generate some chances. Then just before the half, Vale put UCLA back on top with a great header just in front of goal. Junior Leo Stolz notched his team-leading fourth assist of the year on the play, playing a great cross to the far post from the right side to Vale, who promptly finished to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead going into the half.
UCLA continued to hold possession for the early part of the second half, denying California any serious chances. However, the Golden Bears continued to press and eventually saw a great chance in the 67th minute. Bonomo took a pass on the left side and found himself one-on-one with freshman Nathan Smith. He was able to get around Smith and unleash a shot from point-blank range, but junior keeper Earl Edwards Jr. was quick off his line and made a huge sliding save to deny Bonomo.
The Golden Bears would find the tying goal in the 76th minute though, when the referee awarded them a penalty kick after a hand ball in the box by Smith. Steve Birnbaum stepped up to take the kick for California and converted it to tie the match at 2-2. Time would run out in regulation from there and the two sides headed to overtime.
In overtime, California scored on its first possession when Bonomo took a cross from midfielder Connor Hallisey in front of Edwards and scored near post to give the Golden Bears the win.
Overall, UCLA outshot California, 13-11, in the match while Edwards made three saves.
“We deserved more from the match today,” head coach Jorge Salcedo said. “We were the dominant team with possession and they rarely broke us down. We were a bit unlucky in the first set piece from them with the deflection and a penalty kick that for me was questionable, but at the end of the day is at the referee’s discretion. We have to live by the decision, but I’m proud of our effort today. We played a good game and unfortunately didn’t get the result that was merited.”UCLA (7-3-1, 2-1-0) will travel to the Pacific Northwest next weekend to take on Oregon State on Friday, Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. before facing No. 3 Washington on Monday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. Both matches will be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks.
Watch Victor Chavez's goal in the 13th minute
Watch Jordan Vale's goal just before halftime