Gauchos seek another historic win against UCLA

It’s UCLA.

That’s all that needs to be said when the game comes up on the UCSB men’s soccer schedule.

Although UCLA dominates the overall series, the programs have played some historic matches the last few years. UCSB beat UCLA for its first national championship in 2006 and last year the Gauchos set a NCAA on-campus attendance record for a soccer when 15,896 jammed into Harder Stadium to watch a 2-0 defeat of the Bruins.

That was only the fourth win in the series for UCSB — UCLA holds a 31-4-1 advantage.

Friday night, the No. 6-ranked Gauchos will be seeking their first win at UCLA, where the crowd will be far less in numbers. In their last meeting at Drake Stadium, the Gauchos sufferded a 2-1 loss in the third round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

The Gauchos (4-0-1) will face a Bruin squad that returns all 11 starters, led by All-American center-midfielder Kelyn Rowe.

UCLA, ranked No. 2 in a couple of preseason polls, has won its last two matches (over St. Mary’s and Loyola Marymount) after starting the season 0-2-1 (the losses at Louisville and UC Davis and the tie at Santa Clara). The Bruins, ranked 16th, have been led by junior forward Chandler Hoffman, who has scored a goal in each of the last four matches.

UCSB is coming off a scoreless draw against Villanova. That result came a day after its biggest win of the young season, a 2-0 win over No. 9 West Virginia.