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No. 4 UCLA Men's Soccer Falls to Grand Canyon in Upset Defeat

All Bruins on FanNation logo All Bruins on FanNation 9/6/2022 Benjamin Royer
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The Bruins made a push to tie things up in the last five minutes, but could not overcome the deficit or early red card on their own home turf.

A first-half blunder helped contribute to the Bruins’ first loss of the campaign, despite a comeback that nearly came to fruition in the final minutes.

No. 4 UCLA men’s soccer (4-1-0) fell in its penultimate match of nonconference play on Monday night, dropping to 10 men early and losing to No. 24 Grand Canyon (2-2-0) by a score of 3-2. The Antelopes grabbed an early 1-0 advantage with a goal by defender Alec LaBarge in the 23rd minute, and when junior defender Grayson Doody was sent off for a red card 14 minutes later, it caused the Bruins to play catch up throughout the contest.

Doody slid into Clayton Duarte, attempting to make a play on the ball, and the referee deemed the challenge too rough and sent the Hermosa Beach, California, native to the locker room for the rest of the match.

UCLA wasn’t dead in the water just yet, though, and they did create chances early in the second half despite the disadvantage dealt right before halftime.

Junior forward Andres Ochoa caught the Grand Canyon defense with an open gap down the middle of the field and found the feet of senior forward Constantinos Michaelides with a direct pass.

Michaelides dribbled into the box and, after goalkeeper Leon Schmidt deflected his attempt to score, the Cyprian winger recollected and deposited the ball into the net to tie the score at 1-1 in the 58th minute.

The lead was short-lived, however, as forward Zion Long placed Grand Canyon back ahead 2-1 in the 68th minute. In the 80th minute, LaBarge earned a brace when he calmly clipped the ball past goalkeeper Nate Crockford and into the back of the net.

Down 3-1 and playing with one less player on the pitch, the Bruins needed to score in a quick fashion to salvage at least a draw.

Sophomore defender Pietro Grassi was left unmarked in the box and brought UCLA somewhat closer to a desired result just a few moments later, drumming up some genuine intensity as the clock approached 90 minutes.

The Italian’s awareness in the box proved prevalent when a deflected long throw-in moved closer to him. Grassi flicked his leg at the ball and curled the shot into the bottom left corner for a goal –the first of his collegiate career.

Despite decreasing the deficit to one, the Bruins could not score another goal – or even attempt a shot – before the final whistle.

UCLA narrowly outshot Grand Canyon 14 to 13. The Bruins tallied two yellow cards and a red card, while the visitors had five yellow cards throughout the contest.

Crockford conceded three goals, the highest total an opposition has scored with the 6-foot-4 sophomore between the sticks this season. The Northfield, Illinois, native saved two shots in the match, while his counterpart saved five.

This marked Grand Canyon’s first win over a top-four team in program history, and they did it in Westwood.

UCLA will return to action on Saturday when they travel to Portland for an away matchup against the Pilots. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.

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Read more UCLA stories: UCLA Bruins on Sports Illustrated

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PHOTO COURTESY OF JESUS RAMIREZ/UCLA ATHLETICS

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