It’s that time of year in Seattle. It’s cold, it’s rainy, and the Washington men’s soccer team is aiming to rise up the Pac-12 standings with a few games left in the season. Needing every win they can get, the Huskies answered the call Thursday night against UCLA, defeating the Bruins 2-0.
For the first 73 minutes of the game, though, it was tough sledding. The field was slippery, players on both sides were playing extremely physical, and the contest was deadlocked. But in the 74th minute, the entire complexion of the game changed. Senior midfielder Corban Anderson was fouled hard in the box, sending redshirt senior forward Scott Menzies to the spot.
Menzies is head coach Jamie Clark's go-to guy in these situations, evident in the Cal game two weeks ago when he scored the winning goal from the penalty spot. Moving forward to Thursday night, Menzies came through again, as he put the ball away in the right corner to give his team a 1-0 lead.
But that was just the beginning of a fortuitous three minutes of play for the Huskies (9-7-0, 4-4-0 Pac-12). In the 77th minute, sophomore midfielder sent in a corner to the box, and freshmen Freddy Kleeman and Dylan Teves were both quick to react to the ball. At the time, Kleeman looked to have gotten his foot to the ball before Teves and pinged it against the right post and across the goal line for his first career goal, one that doubled up the Huskies’ advantage and put the game away.
However, after the game, the goal was officially given to Teves. Nevertheless, Washington had more than enough goals to overcome its Pac-12 rival.
“It was fantastic,” Clark said. “We talked about it at halftime, the only place you can win a game is on the scoreboard and by scoring goals. We’ve been winning games between the 18s, but not on those other sides, so we actually took care of the whole 120 yards today. Shut out on one side, and two goals.”
On the other side of the ball, the defense played a perfect game, allowing the Bruins (9-5-0, 4-2-0 Pac-12) only three shot attempts, and none on goal.
“Those guys were tough,” Clark said. “Nice for Freddy to step in for Q, and we’re a deep team. We can rotate some guys around depending on health, but we know we’re 16, 17 deep, so we can play different ways.”
Freshman defender Ethan Bartlow made his first start in almost two weeks coming off a concussion, while his back line mate, senior Quentin Pearson, missed the game entirely with a concussion of his own.
Not many opportunities presented themselves to either team in the first half, as only six shots were taken for the entirety of the first 45 minutes. The two freshman, Teves and Charlie Ostrem, provided some of the only offense on display all period, with each of them getting a shot on goal.
UCLA didn’t get its first shot of the game until the 41st minute. On the play, junior forward Mohammed Kamara sped past a sliding Bartlow at midfield, and almost had an open point-blank shot on goal, but Kleeman raced back to his goalkeeper’s aide and forced Kamara into an errant attempt.
In the 52nd minute, the Bruins were reduced down to 10 men. Redshirt senior midfielder Joab Santoyo went up with Anderson on a header at midfield, and while they were both down, Santoyo appeared to kick Anderson in the back of the head. The referee saw the play and wasted no time disqualifying Santoyo from the game, and the UCLA sideline was irate about the play.
It got even chippier from there. Junior midfielder John Magnus was awarded a yellow card a few minutes later, with the Bruins’ bench begging for a red to even out the numbers.
This frustration stayed with the Bruins until the end of the game, one of the big reasons why they weren’t able to manage a goal.
Washington is now tied for third in the Pac-12 standings with UCLA at 12 points each, and will be ready to try to get another important conference win against San Diego State this Sunday.
Reach reporter Chris Angkico at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @chrisangkico