Men’s soccer suffers heart-breaking loss to UCLA

Josh Enas, Multimedia Contributor

The Oregon State men’s soccer team fell 4-3 in a hard-fought, back-and-forth game versus UCLA on Sunday afternoon.

The loss all but eliminates the Beavers’ chances of making the NCAA tournament this season, and a series of controversial calls from the match official will make the defeat even harder for the team to swallow.

Two strong penalty claims within five minutes of each other in the second half both went in favor of the Bruins, and a questionable offside call in the 85th minute ruled out OSU freshman Frazer Poulter’s would-be equalizer.

As it was, the game was wide open, with both teams prioritizing attacking opportunities over defensive solidity. Fans did not have to wait long to see the ball hit the back of the net. A simple through ball in the 4th minute set up Junior UCLA forward Seyi Adekoya to slot the ball in past OSU redshirt sophomore Ryan Vincent. Adekoya was called offside; but the play was perhaps a sign of things to come for the Beavers’ back line, which looked shaky throughout the whole game.

On the other end of the field, Oregon State’s attacking players got off to a flying start. Aggressive pressing by the Beavers’ midfield and forwards caused plenty of problems for the Bruins early on. OSU junior forward Jordan Jones nearly capitalized on a turnover by the Bruins in their own half in the 9th minute, but his shot was directly at freshman UCLA keeper Kevin Silva.

Jones and the Beavers would find their breakthrough just six minutes later, when Oregon State senior defender Matt Arbogast set Jones loose with well-weighted pass down the left touchline. Jones showed off his skill set as he cut inside to beat his man, sold another defender with a dummied shot, and fired home to give the Beavers a 1-0 advantage.

The Beavers would not enjoy their lead for very long. A poor clearance from Vincent in the 17th minute allowed the Bruins a free attacking opportunity that resulted in a well-taken goal by UCLA senior Felix Vobejda.

A close-range goal from UCLA junior Abu Danladi in the 21st minute put the Bruins in the driver’s seat and set the tone for the remainder of the game by forcing the Beavers to play from behind.

The Beavers attacking mindset proved to be their greatest strength and their biggest weakness as the game wore on. The team dominated the game throughout the second half. Goals from juniors Timmy Mueller and Jesse Garcia to make the score 2-2 and 3-3, respectively, showcased the team’s ability on the offensive end; but the commitment to attacking play resulted in a compromised defensive showing.

“When you’re losing, you always try to find a goal; that left us open in the back and in the midfield,” said Beavers redshirt junior Jalen Markey.

For all of Oregon State’s defensive frailties, it was a brilliant piece of skill that provided the decisive goal for the Bruins in the end. Danladi collected the ball on the left side in the 80th minute and placed an elegant, curling shot from 20 yards into the far corner of the net.

Despite falling behind for a third time, the Beavers offense continued to create chances. Frazer Poulter found the back of the net in 85th minute after the UCLA keeper parried away a rocket of a shot from Timmy Mueller, but Poulter was improbably ruled offside.


OSU head coach Steve Simmons was understandably frustrated by the decision. “It’s unfortunate because it took away a [great] effort,” he said, “We had goals from guys that were throwing their bodies on the line. It’s a bad way for this to end—that it’s not decided between the two teams.”

The loss serves as a disappointing end to the Beavers’ postseason chase, which has been characterized by strong performances earning less than they have deserved.

Jordan Jones acknowledged that the Beavers’ tough experiences in this season’s run of conference games will serve them well in the future.

“We definitely use these games as motivation for next year,” he said, “We’re looking good going forward… we really got it together in these last couple of games, we were finally getting things flowing and the chemistry is there.”

If this season’s performances are any indication, the Beavers will once again be in the running for an NCAA tournament berth come next year; and this season’s unlucky run of close conference games will undoubtedly serve as fuel for a better future.

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