Editor’s note: While this game occurred last week, we still find it worthwhile to publish. If anything to continue demonstrating what form a simple match breakdown/recap could take, what things to look for in a game, give praise or criticism to the coaches and players involved, and well … have a record of what went down.
Westwood, CA – A mouth watering dish was served up a week ago Friday night, as the Bruins welcomed a true test in the Gauchos. I predicted a monumental clash of two of the nation’s best players in Kelyn Rowe vs Machael David and we sure got one! David man-marking Rowe all over the field from the get go made it a 10 v 10 contest.
The game was all UCSB in first half and momentum quickly shifted in the second half due to some errant tactical adjustments made by Vom Steeg at halftime. Chandler Hoffman’s second half hat trick sealed the deal and possibly kick started UCLA’s season.
GK: #19 Brian Rowe
Def: #23 Ryan Lee, #27 Joe Sofia, #6 Matt Wiet, #2 Shawn Singh
Mf: #10 Kelyn Rowe, #9 Fernando Monge, #5 Andy Rose, #12 Ryan Hollingshead
Forwards: #15 Zack Foxhoven, #17 Chandler Hoffman
GK: Andre Grandt
Def: #16 Matthew Glodack, #12 Tim Pontius, #2 Peter Schmetz
Mf: #19 Josue Madueno, #5 Fifi Baiden, #7 Luis Silva, #10 Machael David, #20 James Kiffe
Fw: #17 Sam Garza, #18 Davud Opoku
This UCLA team looked a bit more focused and concentrated than the one I watched the week before against LMU. They knew it was a must win game and the speed of play was much improved.
Brian Rowe was enormous in goal making some critical saves throughout the contest to give UCLA a chance to get the W. The save of the night came on a 1 v 1 play at the beginning of the 2nd half that would have put them in a huge hole at 2-0. He denied Opoku and the offense took care of the rest.
The back four also looked much improved from the previous week although I am not convinced they have what it takes to keep top level teams away from Rowe’s net. UCSB got in at will in the first half attacking both flanks. Ryan Lee doesn’t offer a guarantee at either end of the field. Singh again tried to give width to their attack and got forward on occasions but holds the ball too long and wants to play make. NOT YOUR JOB! Dish the rock, especially to your #10!!! The center backs did a decent job on the monster Opoku. He got loose on a few occasions but for the most part was under control. The bigger concern is the holding mids and attacking 4 don’t do the necessary defending to protect this fragile back row. Defensively, the TEAM LACKS BALANCE! This could be costly when facing top notch competition.
The midfield starters all performed on a much higher level. My critique of Hollingshead for his dismall performance the week before could have been excessive. The guy was a force going forward (wrecklessly) on the evening. He would run at UCSB full gallop but his decision making is poor. He would take on a couple of guys then lose possession. Again, much better than vs LMU, but still has his blinders on like most players on these shores. Monge and Rose were doing their jobs: win the ball and keep possession. Rowe was completely nullified and erased from the field the first half. He was dealing with the offensive mid “eraser” Machael David. Seriously though, Rowe did not see the ball and could not shake David. However, for some reason in the second half he took over for Monge on the outside and David was no longer assigned to follow him. The game changed dramatically. Rowe found the ball and again made the difference. He placed a perfectly weighted ball onto Hoffman’s path for him to settle and finish. Corner kick served first post, Hoffman finish. The more involved he was, the more the game swung in UCLA’s favor.
The attacking duo was suffering without supply from their #10 early on. The second half was an entirely different story. Hoffman ran wild and picked up a hat trick to take his tally to 7 goals for the season with at least 1 goal in each of the first 5 games. IMPRESSIVE! Foxhoven was a good complement but not as involved on the evening.
Eder Arreola came on and played significant minutes. He’s still far from his peak form but had glimpses of his old form. Victor Chavez had limited minutes but made the most of it setting up Hoffman’s third goal.
The Gauchos came to Westwood boasting and undefeated start to the season. That is all the more impressive considering they kicked off the campaign without their best player, Machael David, due to the 3 match suspension he had to serve from last year’s postseason debacle against Cal. Vom Steeg’s team is looking to continue their dominance of the Big West Conference. Ultimately, they are looking to get back to the College Cup after last season’s disappointment.
Their GK is a junior transfer from Tyler Junior College in Texas. He was born in Germany and won it all at the JC level. It was time to deal with the potent UCLA weapons and he could do nothing to deny Hoffman on the evening. He had little to do with the 3 goals and only had one save on the evening. The other 3 shots UCLA put on frame ended up in the back of the net. Soft defending didn’t help Grandt establish himself on a night where a top GK would have made a name for himself.
It was a strange evening for the Gaucho back line. They looked completely solid playing with 3 in the back during the first half when Kiffe was pushing up into the midfield on the left and Machael David man marking UCLA’s offensive mid. The imposing 6’6 Peter Schmetz was untouchable in the air and equally impressive with the ball at his feet. This German is someone to keep an eye on and has much more quality on the ball than former center back – and now Vancouver Whitecap – Michael Boxall did anchoring the defense. Pontius and Glodack were fine in the first half. Everything fell to pieces in the 2nd half when they went to a more traditional back four and David was sitting just in front of them, no longer chasing and denying Rowe. Overall the mistakes were limited but proved costly; with Rowe and Hoffman on the other side of the ball waiting to punish. They will have some tough guys to deal with in conference but should be fine to lock up the Big West.
The midfield is one of the best in the nation. Machael David is seriously unbelievable when given the task to man mark the opposing team’s best player. Just ask Irving Garcia (UCI’s superstar 2 years ago), Jose Gomez (Creighton #10 last year), and now Kelyn Rowe. Vom Steeg does this often and it pays dividends. David is equally good though in his decision-making and short distribution. His awareness is great, tackling tremendous, and can even take players off the dribble. Top notch and a certain MLS draft pick! Luis Silva was quiet on the night. He has put on some muscle to his frame and looked slower than usual. Maybe an off night? He had little impact on the game. Fifi Baiden was in charge of holding the middle of the field in the first half but went down with an injury. He is the perfect complement to the David/Silva duo. The wide men were pretty impressive on the evening. James Kiffe was menacing with his left foot. He created and finished the first goal from the top of the box with his right. Madueno has some deceptive acceleration and can feed the forwards with his creativity. This is a very dangerous UCSB midfield with plenty of depth.
Up top Opoku has such a soft touch to go with his big body. You rarely see that combination of athleticism and touch on these shores. The guy is going to be a force this season in the Gaucho’s conference schedule. Garza is the perfect complement with his pace! He scorches people on the wing and can supply Opoku or finish himself. Another guy who will put up big numbers on the year.
It was a tale of two halves. The first was completely dominated by the visiting Gauchos who went to the locker room up 1-0. Like I said, they cut off the supply to the forwards and UCLA looked lost. David eliminating Rowe was the clear difference between the first and second half.
Rowe was free in the second half and UCLA had instant offense and creativity. Hoffman did not let the Gaucho’s off the hook and came away the hero.
It’ll be interesting to see what the teams take away from this showdown. UCLA has a ton of home games and a soft schedule this weekend that should lead to a pair of W’s. UCSB has a couple of cupcakes as well. Will these two cross paths again in the postseason? Time will tell!
UCLA looked much better than in previous games. They can go nowhere but up from here. They have the depth to do well in conference; but again, I see them too fragile in key areas to be a serious contender come tournament time.
UCSB will play in the difficult Big West conference and should be fine. I like this team against anybody but they will have to get their tactics right for a full 90 when going up against a UCONN or Creighton type powerhouse in the postseason.
Conference play is almost upon us. Stay tuned for more college game breakdowns!