UCLA / Tulsa Region Men's Soccer 1st and 2nd Round Breakdowns

UCLA / Tulsa Region 1st and 2nd Round Breakdowns

UCLA looks pretty strong in this group. The west coast was a bit down this year, as seen by the Big West’s lone representative, Cal State Northridge, who won the conference tournament. The result is UCLA being placed in a group with Tulsa as the other seeded team. With UCLA hosting until at least the quarterfinals, it may be very difficult for anybody but the Bruins to come out of this group.


#6 UCLA vs. Cal State Northridge/San Diego

The first time Cal State Northridge and San Diego met this year, the Matadors came away with a 5-0 victory. And that was in San Diego. The Toreros are a much better team now than they were back in September, but CSUN will not lack in confidence heading into this first round game. Northridge is led by sophomores Sagi Lev-Ari and Edwin Rivas. Add junior Beto Velasquez to the mix and those three strikers scored 30 goals during the season. Midfielders Carlos Benavides and David Turcios will set them up. Even if San Diego can stop the potent Matador offense, they have to beat keeper Michael Abalos.

UCLA is a pretty balanced squad. Midfielder Ryan Hollingshead has emerged as the star, but there is great talent up and down the Bruins roster. UCLA has only lost one game since their 2-3 loss at the hands of New Mexico in August and that was against Washington, another tournament team. For the most part the Bruins have played very well against less talented teams and that is what they will see during their first game of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.


#11 Tulsa vs. South Florida/Florida Gulf Coast

South Florida snuck into the tournament thanks to their strong strength of schedule. They went just 2-3-3 in Big East play, but we all know how tough the Big East has been this year. The Bulls are well tested, but they also have some bad losses and that leaves things open for Florida Gulf Coast to pull off the road win. The Eagles will need to rely on freshman Felipe DeSousa to find the back of the net. This is not a potent offense and DeSousa accounted for seven goals for FGCU. Keeper Nathan Ingham is still finding his way, but he is getting better with every game.

Tulsa has one of the most potent offenses in the nation. Freshmen Cristian Mata and Bryce Follensbee tallied 13 and nine goals, respectively. Akeil Barrett and Omar Matta added seven and six. There is more experience in the back and that is where experience matters the most. If Tulsa can crack a defense, they can score in a hurry and that will be a big problem for South Florida or Florida Gulf Coast.


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