LOS ANGELES – No. 3 Washington (11-1-4, 4-1-2 Pac-12) saw its 15-match unbeaten streak come to an end on Sunday with a 2-1 loss at No. 4 UCLA (8-3-4, 3-1-3 Pac-12). The Dawgs controlled possession and had more chances than the Bruins, but could not convert while UCLA made the most of their few opportunities.
“I was certainly proud of how we played,” said head coach Jamie Clark. “I thought we were the better team for 70 minutes and if we do that we are going to win most of the time. I think if we have a performance like that every time out, we are good enough to win a national title.”
Washington nearly took the lead in the third minute on two-consecutive opportunities. Justin Schmidt put his header on frame, but a UCLA defender cleared it off the line. The rebound went right to Josh Heard whose lefty follow went back at the same defender who cleared with his head for a second time.
The Bruins would take the lead in the 19th minute when Victor Chavez scored. Jordan Vale got free on the left wing and passed back to Chavez who shot from close range.
Despite the goal, Washington continued to create chances. In the 36th minute, Cristian Roldan showed great skill to beat his man at midfield and slip a through ball to Darwin Jones. Jones fired on target, but the save was made.
The Dawgs finally broke through in the 42nd minute, scoring off a Michael Harris flip throw. The senior sent in a long throw that Schmidt won in the air and redirected on goal. There was James Moberg who got a slight touch to slip the ball into the back of the net.
The goal was the first of the season for Moberg who has been close on so many occasions. He does share the team lead in assists with Harris with seven.
The Bruins took the lead in the 70th minute when UCLA saved the ball on the endline and chipped it into the box where Gage Zerboni was waiting and nodded home the goal.
It was an unfortunate turn of events as Washington was controlling play all second half. The Dawgs outshot UCLA 8-2 in the period and 12-5 for the game.
Following the goal, the Dawgs went right back to holding possession and creating chances. In the 75th minute, Morberg hit a perfect cross to Steven Wright who rose up for a header, but it went just over the bar.
Washington fought until the final whistle, but the equalizing goal was not to be.
“W had 20 chances for that second goal,” said Clark. “All we can do is just give ourselves as many chances as possible and most of the time it will work out.”
The loss puts No. 1 California in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12, despite the Dawgs leading the conference after this weekend. Washington has one more point than California, but has played two more games since the Bears were idle in conference this weekend. However, Cal still has to come to Seattle and host UCLA.
The Dawgs will now have a bye week before hosting Stanford and Cal. The Cardinal comes to town on November 8 at 7 p.m., followed by the showdown with the Golden Bears on November 10 at 1 p.m.