UCLA conceded an equalizing goal in the 90th minute and went on to lose 2-1 in overtime to Maryland at Home Depot Center Friday before 3,214 fans, the third biggest crowd ever to see a Bruins home game.
This was the first game of the season for both teams and it showed.
UCLA dominated the opening 45 minutes, scoring a 27th minute goal created by Palos Verdes Estates’ Kyle Nakazawa, who used his inside knowledge of former roommate at the U.S. Under-17 Academy in Bradenton. Fla., Omar Gonzalez, to beat the giant defender and cross the ball to Jason Leopaldo. He headed over to Eder Arreoloa, who knocked it to Maxwell Griffith, who finished from close range.
UCLA sat back in the second half and Maryland came at them looking for the tying goal. That proved to be the Bruins’ undoing when Maryland equalized in the 90th minute from a corner kick, Sean Flatley heading in the winner unmolested provoking UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk to angrily remonstrate at the sloppy defending.
Worse was to come in golden goal overtime, Maryland’s Drew Yates splitting a static UCLA defense with an incisive ball that found Rodney Wallace for the winning goal.
Maryland squandered several second half chances, but in the end UCLA paid the price for nonchalantly sitting back.
UCLA Coach Jorge Salcedo on the second half:
“They had some players that were dangerous and some guys who did well up top. (The) outside midfielders (were) strong players for them. We saw the game out far too much and sometimes when that happens you’re going to get bit and that’s what happened to us tonight.”
On the second half:
“We started to become very predictable, just knocking balls forward. It was never our intention to sit back and see the game out. But for one reason or another the group did that in the second half.”
On the state of the team:
“We had some younger guys I didn’t think really found their legs until the middle of the first half. It was a choppy game. I don’t think we were at our best. I don’t think they were at their best. It’s going to take some time to round into form.”
Palos Verdes Estates resident and 100 Percent Soccer blogger Kyle Nakazawa on why they didn’t close out the game:
“We were comfortable with the one-zero lead and in soccer you can’t do that. One-zero, even two-zero you can’t do that ever. The guys were tired. We had maybe ten minutes left and guys were just trying to see the game out and a lot of times when you do that you end up getting scored on.”
Goalkeeper Brian Perk on the equalizing goal:
“I was pretty angry. … I was just wondering where our team is. I didn’t even go for it. I’m kind of disappointed in myself more than anything.”
On the season ahead:
“I don’t think a lot of people are going to expect a lot of us, which I can understand, we lost a few people. Fourteen is a pretty generous ranking, I believe. But I think we’re going to surprise some people because every game is going to be like this. We’re not going to be an easy team to beat.”
On the defensive reaction to the play that led to the winning goal:
“They had that one moment where we weren’t prepared and that’s what it came down to. (The defense) mentally fell asleep and the guy took his chance and they took it well. It was a lucky header to be honest. I don’t think he even had his eyes open. That was justice in the second half. They were a little bit better than us.
In other college action today:
*The LMU women lost 4-0 to Notre Dame; the LMU men tied No. 10-ranked New Mexico 1-1, as did San Diego and Saint Louis in Westchester.
*Pepperdine tied 1-1 with Arizona State.
*The Matador women beat Southern Utah 5-2, while the men lost 1-0 to Georgetown.