It was a bittersweet weekend for the New Mexico men’s soccer team as it collected one win and one loss during the Grange and Ashwill Memorial Tournament.
On Friday the Lobos earned a 2-1 win against UC Riverside, but lost an important asset: their goalie.
Early in the game, senior Patrick Poblete received a yellow card for going for a loose ball in the box. He received a second card with five and a half minutes left on the second half because the referee deemed he was purposely wasting time.
Freshman goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu came in for the remainder of the game, but did not have to make any saves.
The pressure increased for the Lobos (3-1-0) Sunday night. Especially for Beaulieu.
It’s not every day that a freshman keeper gets to start in goal against the No. 1 team in the nation. But Beaulieu had no other option.
The UCLA Bruins (3-1-0) were coming off a Friday loss to American University. The Bruins led 1-0 throughout the game until the 97th minute, when the Eagles managed a tie. During overtime, American scored the extra goal that converted the tie into a 2-1 win.
Needless to say, the Bruins were hungry for a victory.
But pressure wasn’t the only thing that increased on Sunday. The energy did, too.
Approximately 2,000 fans showed up to cheer UNM as it took on UCLA.
The game started much like the Friday game. Six minutes in, a foul was called on the Lobos and UCLA got an early lead thanks to a penalty kick.
The Lobos remained confident and in the 31st minute James Rogers converted a cross from Josh Goss and put the Lobos on the scoreboard to tie the game at 1-1.
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The first half ended with UNM leading on shots 7-1, the score still tied.
The Lobos dominated the second half right away, taking shot after shot, but the ball could not find the net.
In the 73rd minute, a misplay by the UNM keeper gave the Bruins an opportunity of their own. Christian Chavez found an open net and scored the winning goal for a 2-1 advantage.
Although the Lobos had a 18-3 edge on shots, “disappointing” was the word of the night.
“We can’t use it as a setback, but right now it’s disappointing. Especially when you have that much of the game,” said head coach Jeremy Fishbein. “I’m not saying that we are every day better than UCLA, but today we were much better…. It’s a disappointing one that slipped away.”
Midfielder Josh Goss agreed with Fishbein that it was indeed a tough loss.
“We thought we kept the ball well. We controlled a bit of the game. It just wasn’t enough,” he said. “It’s killer, I don’t know how else to say it. It’s frustrating.”
Fishbein said there’s still plenty of games left to play.
“We got 14 games left. If we continue to play like we’re playing, we are going to have a lot of success. But you know, you have to score goals,” he said.
Isabel Gonzalez is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cisabelg.