A 2-0 loss against No. 4 UCLA marked an end to the Gators’ weekend visit to Los Angeles. Florida, 2-2, will look to bounce back from its last two losses against defending champions No. 1 Florida State on Friday.
The Match Summary
Florida held UCLA to a scoreless first half in its home, the Wallis Annenberg Stadium, but the Bruins gave the Gators some of its own medicine.
The Bruins took care of business early in the second half. In the 47th minute, Gators’ goalkeeper Susi Espinoza took down UCLA’s Jessie Fleming in the box. As a result, Espinoza was shown a yellow card and was unable to save the penalty taken by Marley Canales.
Just over ten minutes after the first, the Bruins doubled their lead via Delanie Sheehan‘s deflected shot. The home team held most of the possession for the remainder of the game to hold on to another home win.
Gators soccer got itself in a similar position last weekend at halftime when facing, at that time, 18th ranked USF. However, Florida was the team that scored two early goals in that one.
Coach Becky’s Thoughts on the Game
Head coach Becky Burleigh recognized that her team struggled to capitalize on key chances throughout the match. In different instances, the Gators sent venomous crosses inside the opposition’s box but forwards fail to meet them for a deadly finish.
“Credit UCLA – they have a very, very talented team. But honestly, I don’t think that 2-0 score was indicative of today’s game. We got behind them, served balls across the box – we need to be a bit more clinical in the final third. We were able to play through their midfield and I think that is a very, very talented midfield,” she said. “There will be some real positives that come out of this. I just think that we are close and these games are really going to help us.”
Three major absences took a role in the Gators performance against UCLA on Sunday night.
Unfortunately, Rose suffered a hamstring injury in that game was sidelined on Sunday night. WRUF‘s Gators soccer beat reporters will ask Burleigh for an update on the injury.
Georgia Eaton-Collins & Ava Kuyken
Eaton-Collins, sophomore, joined England’s under-21 squad earlier this week ahead of the annual Nordic Tournament. Meanwhile, Kuyken who was the only freshman in the Gators starting lineup in their season opener joined England’s under-19.
Both players will be back before the game against FSU on September 8.
Back to the Sunshine State
The Gators’ next four opponents are all in-state rivals.
Florida will face Florida State in Tallahassee on Thursday at 7 p.m. to conclude it’s five away games.