In their last tune up match before conference play, the Bruins were unable to pick up the rhythm of the Pilots’ gameplan.
UCLA men’s soccer (3-2) tallied 10 corners and eight shots, but Portland (3-2) made the Bruins bite their tongue at missed chances as they lost 1-0. UCLA entered the night on a three-game winning streak sitting two games above .500 for the first time under coach Ryan Jorden, only to watch that record slip away by the time 90 minutes were up.
The Pilots’ lone goal came in the 33rd minute and their relentless pressing stifled the Bruins all match long.
The first ten minutes of the match brought passing action between graduate midfielder Yoni Sorokin and redshirt freshman midfielder Tucker Lepley. The two held possession and arranged in a systematic approach that Jorden had set the Bruins up in.
UCLA saw more of the ball in the first half, leading to two chances within the first twenty minutes.
Freshman forward Jose Contell had his chance in the 18th, when he was on the receiving end of sophomore forward Grayson Doody’s pass and shot just wide of the post. Two minutes later in the 20th, sophomore defender Tommy Silva crossed in a ball into the box, allowing for redshirt junior midfielder Jose Sosa to volley the ball. Sosa’s shot deflected off a Pilot defender for a corner as he held his head in frustration.
The Bruins started the first half with more attacking presence, but as the period dwindled on, the Pilots picked up steam by hounding the Bruins’ half with scoring opportunities.
In the 33rd minute, a deflected pass led to a bouncing ball outside the box that found the foot of Pilot defender Kevin Bonilla. Bonilla struck the ball, sending a screamer towards the net that deflected off Pilot midfielder Christoforos Kourtos and dribbled past senior goalkeeper Justin Garces. As a result of the play, Portland took a 1-0 lead.
Redshirt senior midfielder Andrew Paoli almost tied the game in the 37th minute after subbing on eight minutes earlier. Paoli struck the top side of the crossbar, but it jumped off the frame for a goal kick.
The second half was all Pilots, even if it didn’t show in the final score.
In the 63rd minute, Jorden moved for a tactics change, pushing redshirt senior Ben Reveno and Silva forward from the full back positions. The new roles didn’t result in an opening on goal, however.
The final six minutes provided two final chances for the Bruins, with freshman defender Pietro Grassi heading a ball to the bottom-left corner and Lepley striking a ball from outside the box towards the left side.
Both shots on goal were for naught.
Portland goalkeeper George Tasouris saved both attempts, deflating the crowd of 650 at the end of the night for his only two saves of the match.
Both squads had their fair share of fouls, with the Bruins notching seven and the Pilots fouling their opponent nine times.
UCLA will now shift to conference play for next week’s home matchup against Stanford on Thursday. The Cardinal have started 2-1 and have one more nonconference match against San Jose State on Saturday.
Next Thursday’s match starts at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.