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Bruins Edged by Portland, 1-0

Sep 10, 2021
Aaron Edwards (photo: Don Liebig)

LOS ANGELES – UCLA men's soccer suffered a 1-0 loss to Portland on Friday night at Wallis Annenberg Stadium in the team's final contest before conference play starts next week.

The decision snapped a three-game winning streak for the Bruins (3-2-0), who have still allowed just one goal over their last three games.

Portland (3-2-0) went ahead via a 33rd minute score from Kevin Bonilla, who hit a half volley at the top of the 18 after a 50-50 ball was popped in the air near the UCLA net.

From there, the Pilots were content to let the Bruins have the advantage in possession. However, UCLA wasn't able to find an equalizer despite a number of solid looks in the second half.

"I thought we were good tonight, but not great. If we're going to play against teams that are very organized and we're not sharp enough, we can pay the price," said UCLA head coach Ryan Jorden. "They went ahead of us and then really tried to sit and make the game hard, and we can expect that that will be the case if that happens. I'm proud of the guys' work rate, but probably not good enough from us on the night in a couple of areas that we need to be better in."

The Bruins had the better of the scoring chances after Portland's opener, with the Pilots not getting an attempt on target the rest of the evening.

UCLA had arguably its best chance to equalize in the 84th minute. With the Bruins pressing forward, freshman right back Aaron Edwards hit a second-chance service into the box where freshman center back Pietro Grassi got a head on it and flicked it to the back post. Portland keeper George Tasouris was up to the task however, diving and pushing out the re-direct with his fingertips.

A hard drive from Tucker Lepley in the 89th minute also required a save from Tasouris, and the Bruins actually did get the ball into the net on a second-chance effort from forward Jose Contell, but it came a couple seconds after time had expired in regulation. 

UCLA keeper Justin Garces made one save on the night, and has now allowed one goal or fewer in four consecutive games.

The Bruins return to action next week with a pair of conference contests at Wallis Annenberg Stadium, both of which will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. UCLA opens up its conference slate against Stanford on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m., followed by a 6:00 p.m. matchup against Cal next Sunday.