UCLA Blanks UCI, 1-0, in Season Opener
LOS ANGELES – The No. 20-ranked UCLA men's soccer team opened its 2022 season with a 1-0 win over UC Irvine on Thursday night at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.
The Bruins (1-0) got on the board via a 52nd minute goal from redshirt senior forward Kevin Diaz, and held the Anteaters (0-1) without a shot on goal to record the team's first shutout of the season.
Overall, UCLA outshot UCI 12-5 and had a solid advantage in time of possession.
"We pitched a shutout obviously, which is a huge compliment to the team and their work together," said UCLA head coach Ryan Jorden. "We knew that one thing we had to better in [compared to last season] was the defending side of things, we conceded too many goals. We've taken good steps, and the mentality has been really good in regards to trying to take ground on that front."
The score for Diaz – who co-led the team with six goals last year – came off a corner kick. Junior left back Tommy Silva started the play by playing a short ball to redshirt senior midfielder Jose Sosa near the corner flag, and Sosa proceeded from there towards goal along the end line.
Drawing a pair of defenders towards him, Sosa whipped a ball into the six-yard box, and Diaz met it dead center and headed the pass into the net past UCI keeper Luke Pruter.
— UCLA Men's Soccer (@UCLAMSoccer) August 26, 2022
That tally turned out to be more than enough for the Bruins, who limited the visitors to just one shot attempt the remainder of the contest.
Sophomore defender Aaron Edwards had the most dangerous chance in a scoreless first half, hitting a volley from the corner of the 18-yard box that produced a juicy rebound in the 40th minute. However, Diaz was beat to the loose ball by UCI center back Mathias Winum.
Sophomore keeper Nate Crockford – making his fifth-career start – notched his first shutout as a Bruin.
Elsewhere, freshman midfielder Tarun Karumanchi made his official NCAA debut and played the full 90 for UCLA in a holding mid role. Silva's secondary assist on Diaz's goal marked his eighth-career helper.
UCLA resumes its season-opening four-game homestand on Sunday evening, hosting ACC-member Virginia Tech at 6:00 p.m. PT on the Pac-12 Networks.