Men's Soccer 2013 NCAA Tournament #1 UCLA / #16 UMBC Regional Breakdown

#1 UCLA / #16 UMBC Regional Breakdown

No team has an easy route to the quarterfinals, but this could be the toughest region of them all. UCLA is, of course, the top seed overall and the other seeded team, UMBC, could have deserved a higher seed than #16. Elon finished second in the Southern Conference regular season and has some nice wins over teams like Wake Forest and Coastal Carolina. Clemson has been thoroughly tested in the ACC and Connecticut is one of the most talented teams in the country even though they have had some ups and downs throughout the season.


#1 UCLA vs. Elon/Clemson

Elon is coming into the NCAA Tournament with quite a bit of momentum. They have not lost since October 22nd and since then have beaten Coastal Carolina and SoCon regular season champion Wofford in the conference tournament final. Clemson’s defense will have their hands full with Jason Waterman, Matt Wescoe and the variety of scoring options Elon has its disposal. Clemson is heading in the opposite direction. They have lost three of their last four and four of their last six. The Tigers defense is solid and they do have a great playmaker in the midfield in Thomas McNamara, but the offense has had some down games lately.

The winner of Elon and Clemson will head to Westwood to take on UCLA. The Bruins earned the top overall seed after finishing the regular season with an 11-3-4 record. Coach Jorge Salcedo has managed a tough slate with great success. With Victor Chavez and Leo Stolz scoring goals and Victor Munoz setting them up, either Elon or Clemson will have a tough time with the Bruins.


#16 UMBC vs. Connecticut/Quinnipiac

Connecticut has a lot of things going for them. Keeper Andre Blake is the best goalie in the country and when he is on, the Huskies can beat anybody. Freshman midfielder Cyle Larin netted 11 goals and striker Allando Matheson is another quality finisher. Quinnipiac is making their first tournament appearance after winning the MAAC tournament. Like the Huskies, the Bobcats have a superb defense and a great goalie in junior Borja Angoitia. Goals may be hard to come by in this one.

Because Connecticut and Quinnipiac tend to play in low scoring contests, both could provide a tough matchup for UMBC. The Retrievers generally do not allow many goals either, but it is Pete Caringi that can make a difference. The College Sports Madness first-team All-American netted ten goals for UMBC and he can make the most of half an opportunity and that may be all Caringi gets against the Connecticut or Quinnipiac defense.


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