Tonight’s men’s soccer showdown with No. 1 UCLA would be challenging enough for New Mexico. And now the bears have been poked.
The Bruins and host Lobos square off at 6 p.m. at the UNM soccer complex amid what should be a postseason-like electric setting to wrap up the Grange & Ashwill Memorial Tournament, which included UC Riverside and American University.
Behind goals from Chris Wehan and Josh Goss , the No. 6 Lobos beat Riverside 2-1 Friday in a match replete with yellow cards – after American stunned UCLA in overtime by the same score.
In the Lobos’ victory, UNM lost goalkeeper Patrick Poblete, who was tagged with two of the match’s seven yellows. He must sit out tonight, leaving the duties to freshman Jason Beaulieu.
“It’s unfortunate, but I think these are the kind of things that prove very valuable as the season progresses,” UNM coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “I just wish it hadn’t come to that.”
UCLA coach Jorge Salcedo, quoted on his school’s athletic website, said he was to blame for his team’s Friday night loss, which followed two road wins over ranked teams the previous weekend. Nonetheless, a change in his team’s system led to the Bruins “lacking rhythm and an understanding of how to move with and without the ball.”
But hang on. Fishbein expects a Bruins team at its best tonight.
“I think it will be two very good teams,” he said. “… I hope the energy level is high.”