Not this time.
The ASU soccer team looked for a second upset over a No. 2 team in the country, and were instead routed 3-0 by UCLA.
ASU coach Kevin Boyd said the Bruins were the best team ASU has faced all season “by a significant margin.” UCLA is a legitimate top-three team who should be in the finals in the national tournament, Boyd said.
UCLA (13-1-1, 5-0-1 Pac-12) dominated ASU (8-6, 3-3 Pac-12) in terms of time of possession, shots, and just about any category. The Bruins held an 18-7 edge on shots, including a 12-3 margin in the first half.
“They’re really fast and athletic,” Boyd said. “They’ve got that nice combination that with technical ability. They are very good on the ball. So they just keep the ball and the movement off the ball was tremendous. It presents you with a whole lot of difficult options.”
UCLA got on the board in the 17th minute when sophomore defender Ally Courtnall got her first goal of the season. Courtnall one-timed a chip into the box and into the net.
“(Their forward) ended up getting loose enough to cross,” Boyd said. “The problem is they had committed some numbers into the box fast and found an open player who happened to be their right back that made the run all the way up the field in the back post.”
ASU trailed 1-0 at the half, and despite the shot disadvantage, the Sun Devils felt like they were still in the game.
“We were acknowledging they were good (at the half) but we didn’t think we played our best yet, and that’s what we wanted to do, get out and play better,” Boyd said. “We certainly did not play physical enough. We played hard, we used a lot of energy, but when you’re outmatched you’ve got to use the upmost of your physical ability, and we didn’t do enough physically on them.”
In the second half, the score started to reflect what was happening on the field. UCLA added two insurance goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half. The Bruins wound up cruising with the three-goal advantage.
Not even the return of senior forward Devin Marshall from a yellow card-induced suspension could jumpstart ASU’s now struggling offense. Marshall was the only Sun Devil who took more than one shot in the game, with three.
ASU has now scored four goals in six conference games, and hasn’t scored in the last two games.
ASU’s next game is at home against Washington on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @jjanssen11