UCLA Hosts Maryland Friday In Season Opener At The Home Depot Center

Aug. 25, 2008

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This Week -- The 14th-ranked UCLA men's soccer team opens the 2008 season on Friday, Aug. 29 against eighth-ranked Maryland at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The game is Fox Soccer Channel's NSCAA Game of the Week and will be televised live at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students/youth and can be purchased in advance at Ticketmaster. All seats are general admission. Parking at The Home Depot Center will be free. For directions to the stadium, click HERE.

On Sunday, Aug. 31, games return to the UCLA campus. UCLA will host UC Riverside at 12:30 pm, followed by Maryland vs. California at 3 pm. Tickets to the doubleheaders are $7 for adults and $5 for youth. UCLA students are free with valid ID.

Live Coverage -- Friday's game against Maryland will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel, and the UCLA-UC Riverside game will be audio broadcast live for free on the Bruins' website at UCLABruins.com. Also available on UCLABruins.com will be Gametracker for all three games this weekend.

Bruins To Play At The Home Depot Center For Third Time -- UCLA will play at The Home Depot Center for the third time in school history. The Bruins played in the first collegiate game at the famed soccer venue on Sept. 14, 2003, defeating Cal State Fullerton 5-0 behind a hat trick from Matt Taylor and two goals and three assists from Chad Barrett. UCLA returned to The Home Depot Center on Sept. 19, 2004 for a game against Loyola Marymount that ended in a scoreless tie. Maryland has also played in The Home Depot Center, losing to Indiana, 3-2 in double overtime, in the semifinals of the 2004 College Cup.

The Home Depot Center is the home of Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA. It has hosted many major soccer events, including the 2003 and 2004 MLS Cups, 2003 MLS All-Star Game, 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, 2004 NCAA Men's Soccer College Cup and numerous U.S. Soccer games.

In The Rankings -- UCLA is ranked No. 14 in the NSCAA and College Soccer News pre-season polls, No. 13 in the SoccerTimes.com poll and No. 26 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll.

Scouting The Terrapins -- Maryland went 10-5-2 a year ago and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Leading the Terrapins in 2008 is All-American defender Omar Gonzalez, who was selected to the 2008 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List. Head coach Sasho Cirovski signed what College Soccer News rated as the nation's best recruiting class. Four Maryland freshmen were named Parade All-Americans last year.

UCLA's History With Maryland -- Maryland leads the all-time series between the two teams, 3-2. The Terrapins won the last matchup, 4-1 in College Park on Sept. 2, 2006 in a game that was delayed a day due to heavy rains. Maxwell Griffin scored the only goal for the Bruins. UCLA won the last matchup in Los Angeles on Sept. 4, 2005, routing Maryland at Drake Stadium, 4-0. Maxwell Griffin scored the game-winner in the seventh minute, and the Bruin defense held Maryland to zero shots on goal. No team has won back-to-back games in the series.

Scouting The Highlanders -- UC Riverside finished with a 5-6-8 record in 2007. The Highlanders return 2007 All-Big West defender David Lozano and last year's top scorer Cito Soriano (4g, 3a).

UCLA's History With UCR -- UCLA and UC Riverside have met 11 times, with the Bruins winning all 11, including the last meeting in 2004 at Drake Stadium, 1-0. The prior 10 games in the series all came prior to 1984.

Former Bruin Gonzalez Returns To Westwood With UCR Team -- UC Riverside head coach Junior Gonzalez will return to Westwood to coach his team against his alma mater. Gonzalez won a NCAA title with UCLA in 1997 and was a four-year letterman from 1995-98.

About The Bruins -- With an influx of new players and a strong core of returning players, UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo is excited about the seemingly endless possibilities for his 2008 Bruins. A well-rounded 12-man incoming class and the return of six All-Pac-10 players give Salcedo many options with which to concoct a good mix on the field to challenge for another national title.

The Bruins' 2007 season got derailed a bit during the off-season and early in the pre-season, with injuries befalling several key players on both the defensive and offensive ends. The Bruin attack should be much more potent in 2008, as all of the team's attacking players enter the pre-season healthy. The Bruins have a variety of options on the offensive end, with players with size, speed and savvy. The team's top two scorers from last year, Maxwell Griffin (9g, 0a) and Kyle Nakazawa (3g, 7a) are back, as is 2006 leading scorer David Estrada (12g, 4a in 2006). UCLA's midfield is skillful and versatile, with two-year starters Nakazawa, Jason Leopoldo (2g, 3a) and Michael Stephens (2g, 1a) leading the way. The defense, although inexperienced, is anchored by one of the West Coast's premier defenders in three-time All-Pac-10 selection Brad Rusin. Returning starter Danny Suits, who saw time in the back and in midfield last year, could also step in on a more permanent basis in the backline to provide solid experience. Goalkeeping is a big strength for UCLA, with five goalkeepers on the squad, led by U.S. Under-20 National Team starter Brian Perk, who has five shutouts in 27 career starts during his two seasons.

Salcedo Seeks Win #50 -- UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo is one victory away from claiming his 50th career win. Salcedo enters his fifth season with a career record of 49-24-12.

Nakazawa Named To M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List -- Junior midfielder Kyle Nakazawa was named to the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List. Nakazawa, UCLA's 2007 Team MVP, has started every game of his collegiate career (45 starts) and compiled a total of seven goals and 15 assists in two seasons. In 2007, he led the Bruins with seven assists and was second on the team in scoring with 13 points and two game-winning goals, both of which were scored in the final two minutes of the game, at Washington and against New Mexico in the NCAA first round. Nakazawa was a second-team All-Pac-10 selection in 2007 and a Soccer America All-Freshman honoree in 2006. The former youth international totaled 21 career caps with the U.S. Under-17 National Team and was a starter on the U-17 team that placed fifth at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships.

Fresh Faces -- UCLA enters the season with 12 new players, including 11 true freshmen. The freshman class was rated the No. 9 recruiting class in the nation by College Soccer News and includes four players with U.S. Youth National Team experience - Eder Arreola, Chris Cummings, Oscar Reyes and Victor Yanez. In Bristol, England's Andy Rose, the Bruins have their first foreign player since Martin Bruno of Copenhagen, Denmark, by way of Terra Linda HS in the Bay Area, played on the team from 1996-99. The last UCLA player to come from a foreign school was Canadian Brad McAdams back in 1987.

Off-Season Happenings -- Bruin players were busy in the off-season, with Brian Perk and Eder Arreola seeing regular action with the U.S. National Teams. The two played together on the Under-20 National Team in a friendly against Mexico in July. Perk earned the shutout, and Arreola came off the bench and played 11 minutes. Perk also joined the U-20s at the Milk Cup in Ireland in early August and shut out Belgium, 2-0, in the team's final game. Arreola also played with the U-18s at the Lisbon Tournament in May. Junior midfielder Michael Stephens helped the Chicago Fire Super-20 team capture the North American National Championship in August, assisting on the game-winning goal in the semifinals.

Bruins To Play Five Of Last Six NCAA Champions -- UCLA's 2008 schedule will pit the Bruins against five of the last six NCAA champions. UCLA opens with four of its first five games against prior champions - Maryland (2005), Wake Forest (2007), North Carolina (2001), and Indiana (2003, 2004). On Oct. 1, the Bruins will host 2006 champion UC Santa Barbara. The only two championship teams from this decade that UCLA will not face are itself (2002 champions) and 2000 champion Connecticut.

Looking Ahead -- UCLA travels to Winston-Salem, NC to take on defending NCAA champion Wake Forest and 2001 NCAA champion North Carolina at the Wake Forest Deacon Fall Classic. The Bruins first play the Demon Deacons on Friday, Sept. 5 at 7:30 pm ET and then face North Carolina on Sunday, Sept. 7 at 1 pm ET.

Notable

  • UCLA will play six non-conference games against teams ranked in the NSCAA/adidas pre-season Top 25, including five ranked opponents in its first six games.
  • The Bruins are 32-5-4 all-time in season openers but have not won a opener since defeating Oakland 2-1 in double overtime during the 2004 season.UCLA's last two openers have gone into overtime - a 2-1 loss vs. Notre Dame in 2007 and a 1-1 tie against Cal State Northridge in 2006.
  • Bruin senior Richard Flores is the only UCLA or Maryland player to have played at The Home Depot Center, having played in UCLA's 2004 game there against Loyola Marymount. In addition, Flores scored two goals in the 2004 McDonald's All-American game, which was held in the stadium.
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