San Diego powered by record crowd shocks No. 1 UCLA with shutout win
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Playing in front of a record-breaking crowd of 4,432 fans, the USD men's soccer team shut out No. 1 UCLA 1-0 Friday evening at Torero Stadium. Junior defender Patrick Zimmer scored the game-winning goal in the 15th minute off a Darragh Vieyra free kick from the left wing. Friday evening's win marks the fourth time USD has knocked off a No. 1 ranked team and the second time in the past two years (at Cal, Oct 25, 2013).
"Amazing. It's unbelievable," Zimmer said after the match amongst hundreds of students who rushed the field. "I'm so happy to part of this because we broke the attendance record."
"We were organized and had a game plan, and we stuck to it. At times I was a little bit worried about it," head coach Seamus McFadden said after earning his 11th win all-time against a top-ten team. "We flexed, but we didn't break. Hats off to the lads, they played their hearts out for 90 minutes."
The Torero defense was superb all night, allowing just one UCLA shot on goal all evening. "Unbelievable. From start to finish they were rock solid," goalkeeper Thomas Olsen said about the Torero defensive back line. "My job was pretty easy, and it was a well-deserved victory."
UCLA entered the match having shutout their last three opponents, while the Toreros hadn't scored a goal in their past three matches. However, USD took an early lead. Vieyra sent in a free kick from the last wing that seemed to bounce right to Bruins' keeper Earl Edwards Jr., but he couldn't corral the ball and the 6'4" German defender poked it in. For Zimmer, who transferred to USD from West Florida, it was his first career shot attempt and goal as a Torero.
"I was running in from the back post, and the ball came in front of my foot and I just kicked it in," Zimmer said. "I'm so happy I got it.
The USD athletic department had circled this night on their calendar months ago for the perfect time to attempt to break their previous attendance record of 3,143. The stars aligned when UCLA moved up to No. 1 in the rankings on Tuesday, and the fans showed up in droves to shatter the record by nearly 1,300 people. Coach McFadden and the players credited the boisterous crowd for inspiration.
"The crowd was huge. Can you imagine if we played games like this every time? It just shows you the potential," McFadden said. "To get a crowd like this is so awe-inspiring. The kids were inspired to play. When you got the crowed behind you going against the number one team in the nation, it's much easier. It's like having a 12th man."
"I hope everyone enjoyed it and comes out again because it was amazing. We couldn't have done it without them," goalkeeper Thomas Olsen said. "The atmosphere was ridiculous, I can't thank them enough for coming out."
USD and UCLA both attempted seven shots, but the Toreros' had five on frame compared to the Bruins' one.
Olsen needed just one save and picked up his third shutout of the season. Bruin keeper Earl Edwards Jr. collected four saves in the loss.