Los Angeles, Calif. - Down 1-0 in the final minutes, UCLA got late goals from senior Fernando Monge in the 83rd minute and junior Max Estrada in the 87th minute to give the Bruins a 2-1 come from behind victory over the 11th-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters.
The Bruins improved to 3-1-1 on the year with the win while the Anteaters dropped to 3-2 with the loss.
The first half was mostly quiet with both sides seeing few scoring opportunities. UC Irvine had a golden chance in the 21st minute though when George Mansour beat Bruin keeper Juan Cervantes and chipped a shot on goal. But senior defender Matt Wiet made a fantastic effort to get the ball and clear it off the line before it went in to stop the Anteaters from taking the lead. Neither school was able to score before the half ended and they went into the locker room tied at 0-0.
The Anteaters looked to be the more aggressive team to start the second half, but the Bruin defense hung tough and was able to prevent any goals for the first part of the half. In the 70th minute, Cervantes came up with another huge save for the Bruins after Irvine forward Pavle Atanackovic took a long ball and one-timed a shot on net towards the far post. Cervantes dove and swatted the ball away with his right hand to keep the match scoreless.
UC Irvine would break through just a minute later though, when Cameron Isawa headed a free kick off the crossbar and in to give the Anteaters a 1-0 lead with just under 20 minutes to go. Things looked bleak for the Bruins, but they kept fighting and eventually found the equalizer in the 83rd minute, when senior Evan Raynr took the ball out wide and crossed it to the middle to Monge, who out-jumped the Irvine defense to head the ball off the near post and into the net for the goal.
Monge's goal seemed to spark UCLA as they kept pushing forward and generating chances. Then in the 87th minute, Estrada put the Bruins ahead for good with a lovely side volley to the far post that beat UC Irvine keeper Michael Breslin and sealed the dramatic 2-1 win for UCLA.
Raynr assisted on both of UCLA's goals while juniors Joe Sofia and Victor Munoz notched assists of their own. Cervantes made three saves in the match as he earned his third consecutive victory of the season. The Bruins also outshot the Anteaters 15-13 in the match.
"To have come back from a tough road trip last weekend and to play two matches and find a way to win is ultimately our goal, and that's what we did," stated head coach Jorge Salcedo. "Today wasn't the best soccer game on our part, but we found a way to win. We left it until the very end, but we were resilient in scoring the two goals. The last goal by Max Estrada was a very good finish and a great pass from Victor Munoz. It was going to take a brilliant play for us to find a way to win the game and that's what it was."
UCLA (3-1-1) will now head down the 405 freeway to take on the Loyola Marymount Lions (1-3-1) on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 2 pm at Sullivan Field on the LMU campus.