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The Bruins can't help but play close games, and they once again found themselves on the losing end of this one.

No. 22 UCLA men's soccer (8-5, 3-3 Pac-12) led late into the second half Thursday against California (3-8-2, 1-5), only to allow a couple goals and lose 2-1 on the road. The Bruins have now played seven consecutive games decided by one goal or fewer, and 11 of their 13 games this season fit into that qualifier.

Now sitting at 4-3 in that stretch of seven-straight one-goal matches, UCLA has blown second half leads in all three of those losses. It started off when the Bruins went up 3-1 on Oregon State, only for the Beavers to score three unanswered goals in three minutes, and continued when they let Washington score twice in the final 10 minutes in a 2-1 loss later that same weekend.

Thursday's matinee against Cal can now be added to the mix, as UCLA's 1-0 lead would get erased in the 74th minute before the Golden Bears scored the game-winner in the 89th. All three tight games with blown Bruin leads were on the road, as the team now stands at 1-3 outside of Westwood and 7-2 in the comfort of Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

UCLA built its one-goal lead near the end of the first half, when senior forward Kevin Diaz nutmegged a defender before continuing into the middle of the field and sending the ball to redshirt freshman midfielder Tucker Lepley.

Lepley touched it to the right side of the box in the direction of redshirt freshman forward Jose Contell, who then sent a cross to the far post for sophomore defender Tommy Silva. A Cal defender stepped in front of a sliding Silva, but the ball deflected into the net for an own goal.

Senior goalkeeper Justin Garces made three saves in the first half – two of which came in the eight minute – and the Bruins went into the break with a lead. Garces would not find as much success in the final 45 minutes, however.

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The Golden Bears did not record another shot on goal until the 74th minute, although they had a chance in the 56th that hit the right post. The chance in the 74th came to be when Contell tried to clear a ball over his head and Cal intercepted it. Contell and freshman forward Aaron Edwards collapsed towards the ball, leaving defender Ian Lonergan wide open to receive a pass and send it into the box for forward Fahmi Ibrahim.

Ibrahim curled one past two UCLA defenders and Garces for the game-tying score.

The game-winner was an even more unlikely play, as midfielder Adrian Guzman got the ball with his back to the goal outside the top right corner of the box. He turned and took two touches before firing one off his left foot from 20 yards out, just narrowly squeezing it into the top left corner of the goal past a diving Garces.

After allowing six goals through their first eight contests, UCLA has conceded nine in its ensuing five matches. Garces, who couldn't have done much to save the two goals the Golden Bears put away Thursday afternoon, has seen his goals allowed average spike from 0.75 to 1.17 in that time.

Junior midfielder Riley Ferch is the only Bruin who recorded a shot on goal, which came in the 88th minute. It was the best attempt UCLA got off in a 90-second all-out attack that could have sealed the deal in the waning moments.

Instead, the Bruins couldn't connect on any of their three shots deep in Golden Bear territory, and they wound up losing to a team they beat 2-1 a month earlier at home.

UCLA will stay on the road for a rematch with Stanford on Sunday afternoon, having already beat the Cardinal earlier in the season at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. Kickoff for that match is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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