UCLA at UC Irvine
Thursday, Sept. 19 - 7 pm
Live Stats - ucirvinesports.com
UCLA at Cal State Northridge
Sunday, Sept. 22 - 7 pm
Live Stats - gomatadors.com
The 11th-ranked UCLA men's soccer team (3-1-1) will play two big road matches this week, traveling down to Orange County to take on UC Irvine (3-1-2) on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m., before coming back up to the valley to face #3 Cal State Northridge (6-0-0) on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.
Live Coverage — Fans can follow both matches online via a live stats link. The links for both matches can be found on the front page of uclabruins.com.
In The Rankings — UCLA moved up in three polls this week, coming in at No. 5 in the College Soccer News poll, No. 10 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll, No. 11 in the NSCAA poll and No. 15 in the Soccer America poll. UC Irvine is ranked No. 24 by College Soccer News and No. 25 by Top Drawer Soccer and Soccer America. Cal State Northridge came in at No. 3 in the NSCAA poll, No. 5 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll, No. 6 in the College Soccer News poll and No. 9 in the Soccer America poll.
Scouting the Anteaters — The Anteaters enter Thursday's matchup with a record of 3-1-2 and are coming off a win at No. 16 Louisville and a tie at Indiana. UC Irvine returns 10 starters from the 2012 squad and are led by their forwards Enrique Cardenas and Lester Hayes III, who each have two goals to lead the team. Junior Cameron Iwasa is also an integral part of the UC Irvine team, as he currently leads the squad with two assists. Senior Marco Franco, who has played every minute of the season thus far, will anchor the backline for the Anteaters. Finally, sophomore Michael Breslin will most likely get the start in goal. He enters Thursday's match with eight saves and a 0.78 GAA.
The Series with UC Irvine — UCLA has won 15 of its 17 matchups against UC Irvine in its history. The Bruins and Anteaters met last season at Drake Stadium, a match that UCLA would win by a score of 2-1. UCLA got two goals in the final eight minutes to down UC Irvine, getting the equalizer from Fernando Monge in the 83rd minute before Max Estrada put home the game-winner in the 87th minute. The Anteaters last win over UCLA came in 2001.
Scouting the Matadors — Cal State Northridge is the only team in the nation that is 6-0-0 on the season. The Matadors' No. 3 ranking in the NSCAA poll is the highest national ranking in the school's history and the team ranks in first in the country in numerous categories, including goals scored (18), assists (23), points (59), assists per game (3.83) and points per game (9.83). Junior forward Sagi Lev-Ari leads Cal State Northridge with seven goals scored and 15 points, both of which are third best in the nation. Senior midfielder Beto Velasquez leads the Matadors and is second in the country with four assists while senior forward Brian Behrad is fifth in the nation in goals (5) and eighth in points (11). In goal, sophomore Adam Hobbs has started all six matches for the Matadors, posting 15 saves and a 0.89 GAA.
The Series with Cal State Northridge — The Bruins own an all-time record of 13-2-3 against the Matadors. UCLA last defeated Cal State Northridge in 2010, winning 2-1 at the Matador Soccer Field. The two teams last met in 2011 at Drake Stadium where the Matadors scored two goals in the final 10 minutes to upset the Bruins 3-2.
Last Time Out — UCLA picked up two big home wins over the weekend, defeating UC Santa Barbara, 1-0, on Friday night before dispatching San Diego, 3-2, in overtime on Sunday. On Friday against the Gauchos, the Bruins once again overcame playing a man down to defeat UC Santa Barbara. Junior midfielder Leo Stolz scored the only goal of the match in the 49th minute while junior keeper Earl Edwards Jr. earned his third clean sheet of the year. With the win, the Bruins improved their record to 4-0-1 against the Gauchos at Drake Stadium. Then on Sunday against San Diego, UCLA earned a 3-2 victory over the Toreros, thanks to goals by Stolz, freshman Brian Iloski and an own goal in overtime by San Diego. Stolz, freshman Felix Vobejda and senior Patrick Matchett each notched an assist in the match.
Leo Stolz Earns Weekly Honors — After his big weekend, junior Leo Stolz earned National Team of the Week honors from College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer while also being named the Pac-12 Player of the Week. On Friday against UC Santa Barbara, Stolz scored the only goal of the match, dribbling approximately 60 yards through the Gaucho defense to pick up his first goal of the year. He followed that up with a stellar performance on Sunday against San Diego, notching a goal and an assist to give the Bruins a 3-2 victory in overtime. Stolz scored UCLA’s first goal in the 38th minute to tie the match at 1-1, before setting up Brian Iloski’s go-ahead goal in the 43rd minute with a great pass on a give-and-go. Stolz was also heavily involved in the San Diego own goal in overtime that ended the match, as he attempted to cross the ball to the far post in the box before a Torero defender knocked the ball into the net. Overall, Stolz leads the Bruins with five points on the year. The Pac-12 Player of the Week honor is Stolz’s first-career weekly accolade and marks UCLA’s 51st player of the week overall.
Road Warriors — UCLA is unbeaten in their last 20 road and neutral site matches dating back to 2011, going 16-0-4 in that time frame. The Bruins went unbeaten on the road last season, going 8-0-2, and have started off the season with a 1-0-1 record in road and neutral site contests. UCLA's last road or neutral site loss came on September 18, 2011, a 2-1 loss to UC Davis in overtime.
Joe Sofia Selected as a Candidate for Senior CLASS Award — Senior defender Joe Sofia has been named as one of 30 men's soccer candidates for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award. Sofia, a native of Dove Canyon, Calif., has upheld a 3.965 cumulative GPA in communication studies and is on track to graduate after the Fall quarter after just three years and one quarter. He has held the highest GPA among all of UCLA’s student-athletes since the spring of 2012 and has made the Director’s Honor Roll in every one of his quarters at UCLA (nine times in total). Sofia has been very active in the community as well, developing an anti-bullying curriculum with some fellow student-athletes that will be distributed to local middle schools later this fall. On the field, Sofia has played in 67 matches in his four-year career, starting 66 of them. Playing mostly at center back, he’s helped lead UCLA to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, Pac-12 titles in 2011 and 2012, and the 2011 College Cup Semifinals.
Putting Up Zeroes — UCLA has shut out three of its five opponents to start the season. Junior keeper Earl Edwards Jr. has been in goal for all three clean sheets, which is just one shutout shy of his entire total from 2012. The backline of Nathan Smith, Joe Sofia, Aaron Simmons and Javan Torre, along with defenders Michael Amick and Patrick Matchett have done a great job of limiting the opposition's opportunities, holding UCLA's opponents to 19 shots on goal in five matches.
Five Bruins Named To TDS's "100 Players To Watch" List — Seniors Victor Munoz, Reed Williams and Joe Sofia, and juniors Leo Stolz and Aaron Simmons were all named to the Top Drawer Soccer "100 Players to Watch" list. Munoz came in at No. 49 while Williams was ranked No. 51. Stolz came in at No. 69 on the list while Simmons and Sofia were ranked No. 78 and No. 81 respectively.
UCLA Picked To Win Pac-12 — In a polling of the Conference's men's soccer head coaches, UCLA has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 in 2013. The Bruins, searching for their fifth conference title in six years and ninth title overall, received the maximum 25 total points with five first-place votes. In the last five seasons, the Bruins have compiled a 38-5-7 conference mark, the best amongst the Pac-12 teams. UCLA has also won their last 14 Pac-12 road matches and has reached the NCAA Tournament in 30 consecutive seasons, the second-longest active streak in the nation.
Head Coach Jorge Salcedo — UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo is in his 10th season at the helm of the program, posting an all-time record of 121-46-29. He has coached UCLA to eight Pac-12 Titles as an assistant coach or head coach and is a four-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year (co-coach in 2004, winner in 2008, 2011 and 2012). Salcedo has also led UCLA to two College Cup appearances and is the second-longest tenured men's soccer head coach in UCLA's NCAA history.
Defending Drake — The Bruins hold a record of 97-19-15 all-time at Drake Stadium, good for a .798 winning percentage. UCLA began playing its home games full-time at Drake Stadium in 2000.
Bruins on TV — The UCLA men's soccer team will continue to enjoy increased national exposure in 2013 with 12 games schedule to be televised. 11 of those matches will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks, including seven home matches. The Big Ten Network televised UCLA's game at Indiana on Sept. 1 as well. Fans can find out if they get Pac-12 Networks by visiting Pac-12.com or by contacting their television provider.
Coming Up — UCLA returns home next week to play a non-conference match against UC Riverside on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. out at Drake Stadium.