Indiana, Gauchos on national stage

UCSB wowed a national television audience the last time the Fox Soccer Channel cameras were at Harder Stadium. The Gauchos put on a dazzling offensive display and routed Rutgers 4-0 in early September.

The cameras will be rolling again at the stadium on Friday night, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Gauchos can be as explosive against an always-rugged and organized Indiana squad.

No. 9-ranked Hoosiers (5-2-1) come into the 8 p.m. clash of national champions having allowed just eight goals. The 11th-ranked Gauchos (6-2-1) have scored 20 and given up  11.


UCSB coach Tim Vom Steeg said neither team has anything to lose in this intersectional battle between highly ranked teams, so he’s expecting an entertaining game.

The Gauchos had fans at Harder Stadium holding their collective breath in their most recent outing, a 1-0 Big West win over UC Irvine. In that match, they scored the goal early and then pulled back to protect the lead.

Indiana, winner of seven national championships, is led offensively by 6-2 sophomore forward Will Bruin with five goals. Bruins was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2008. He will be a handful for a UCSB defense that has been up and down this season.

Indiana is coming off its first win over a top-25 team this season with a 3-0 decision over No. 13 Kentucky Tuesday night.

UCSB, NCAA champions in 2006, and Indiana played last year in Bloomington, with the Gauchos taking a 2-1 victory. Prior to that the teams met in the 2004 College Cup championship game at the Home Depot Center. The match ended in a 1-1 tie and Indiana prevailed in a penalty-kick shootout, 3-2.

UCSB will be honoring its 2004 team at halftime tonight. The university will also be celebrating the 30th anniversary of its first NCAA Division I title when it honors the 1979 men’s water polo team.