Late goal helps No. 1 UCLA men's soccer squeeze past No. 6 New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Top-ranked UCLA knocked off its third Top 12 opponent in four games, defeating sixth-ranked New Mexico, 2-1, in the final game of the Grange & Ashwill Tournament in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Freshman Christian Chavez scored the game-winning goal in the 74th minute after Bruin goalkeeper Earl Edwards sent a long ball all the way down the field near the top of the box. Lobo goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu came out to challenge Abu Danladi for the ball, and the ball came out to Chavez, who scored into the empty net.
"Tonight's win was a hard fought game against a very good team," UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo said. "It was another test of character because of our performance on Friday. To win three games on the road against top programs bodes well for our group. We look forward to our home games next weekend."
Chavez's goal came just six minutes after he had another empty net opportunity. Beaulieu came out to try to grab a cross but the cross sailed over his head and out towards Chavez. A bit out of position to get a clean shot, Chavez shot wide.
UCLA (3-1) got off to a quick start in the game, scoring a goal in the seventh minute on a Leo Stolz penalty kick. The goal was the senior midfielder's second of the season. That shot would turn out to be the only shot the Bruins would get in the first half, as the Lobos (2-1) claimed most of the possession, outshooting UCLA, 7-1. James Rogers tied the score at 1-1 in the 31st minute, taking a cross from Josh Goss and converting from two yards out.
Edwards made three saves in the half, including a clutch save in the 43rd minute off a Lucas Seligman shot from the right wing.
The Bruin defense survived an 18-shot New Mexico attack by making some key stops. Edgar Contreras prevented a goal at the end of the half and at the beginning of the second half. In the 70th minute, the Lobos got ahead on a counter-attack, but the Bruins' defensive pressure forced Niko Hansen's shot to go off target and hit the post. Two minutes later, New Mexico drew a free kick right at the top of the box, but Chris Wehan's free kick was blocked by the Bruin wall.
The Lobos had one more chance to tie with under two minutes to play, but Kevin Correa's free kick from the top of the box sailed over the goal.
Contreras, Michael Amick and Leo Stolz earned All-Tournament honors.