Men’s soccer upsets No. 1 UCLA
Toreros defeat Bruins 1-0 in front of record-breaking crowd
What is better than defeating the No. 1 ranked team in the nation? Beating the No. 1 ranked team at home with a standing room only crowd of over 4,400 fans cheering from the stands.
That is exactly what happened last Friday evening when the University of San Diego men’s soccer team upset No. 1 UCLA 1-0 at Torero Stadium. With a defensive back line that repeatedly thwarted any attempts from the Bruins’ talented strikers, the Toreros made their early goal stand up for a dramatic 1-0 victory in front of a record-breaking crowd of 4,432 fans.
Heading into Friday’s game, the team was recovering from a tough two-game road trip which resulted in a tie against UC Riverside and a loss to No. 6 UC Irvine, bringing the Torero’s overall record to 2-2-4. Having beaten the Bruins in the NCAA tournament in 2012 and having suffered a tough 2-3 double overtime loss to them in 2013, the stage was set for a challenging and emotional game.
As the hype and pressure surmounted in the week before Friday’s game, it was clear that the team knew what had to be done. In the 15th minute, Darragh Vieyra, a junior midfielder from London, England, took advantage of a free kick from the left wing and crossed the ball to junior defender, Patrick Zimmer, who confidently side-footed the ball into the back of the net.
After the game, Zimmer, a 6’4” player from Bad Gandersheim, Germany, was very excited about the outcome.
“It was an amazing feeling scoring in front of this crowd and breaking the attendance record made it even more unbelievable,” Zimmer said.
This was Zimmer’s first career shot and goal as a Torero, having transferred to USD from West Florida last spring.
“This win gave us a lot of confidence and we are definitely on a good run which will help up as we look to win the conference and make it to the national tournament,” Zimmer said.
The Bruins, who previously held a 22-6-4 all-time record over the Toreros, found themselves facing a one-goal deficit heading into half time. In the second half, the Toreros managed to hold off the Bruins’ aggressive offensive attack. Despite the fact that the Bruins dominated in possession, they were unable to create a consistent offensive strike against the impenetrable Torero defense. With just one shot on goal the entire game, freshman goalkeeper Thomas Olsen clinched his third shutout of the season.
In the final moments of the game, the anticipation in the stands was palpable. The excitement came to a head as the final seconds of the clock ran out and the student section stormed the field in a moment of crazed euphoria. Hundreds of students running onto the pitch to congratulate the players made for a historic and memorable evening.
For the Toreros, upsetting nationally ranked team is slowly becoming commonplace after upsetting No. 1 Cal on the road 1-0 in 2013. The win against UCLA makes this the 11th win against a top ten-ranked opponent.
The team will look to secure their fourth win as they return to action against the University of San Francisco next Friday at 5 p.m. at Torero Stadium. With 10 games left in the regular season, this game will mark the start of West Coast Conference play. The Toreros are hoping for a repeat of the 2012 season in which they won the WCC and had a significant run in the NCAA post-season tournament where they made it to the round of the sweet 16.