LOS ANGELES – The Aztec men's soccer team ended their 2018 season on a high note with a 1-0 shutout at UCLA Thursday evening. SDSU took the lead late in the first half on a Damian German penalty kick and then withstood a barrage of Bruin opportunities in the second half while playing with ten men to earn the victory.
"The team rallied for their seniors tonight and sent them off the right way," Head Coach Lev Kirshner explained after the match. "They all fought for one another and earned a great win against out traditional rival. I am so happy for them and for all our alums."
Senior goalkeeper Cameron Hogg, who was playing in his final collegiate match, collected a career-high seven saves and made a couple highlight-reel saves.
"Cameron was phenomenal tonight," Kirshner praised. "I am so impressed with how we always kept the team before his self-interest when we decided to start Max [Watkin] midseason. Cam never waivered in his training habits and came back to the starting role better than ever."
With the Aztecs holding a 1-0 lead at the start of the second half, defender Miles Stray picked up two yellow cards in the first five minutes of the second frame, forcing the Aztecs to play with ten men for the remainder of the match.
Clinging to their lead, the Aztecs' defense bent but did not break. They allowed 13 second half shots, while not attempting any.
Twice it appeared UCLA had scored the equalizer, but both times they were called for being offsides.
The Bruins shots started to come in bunches in the final 25 minutes. Their best opportunity came in the 65 minute when Alex Triadis received a through ball deep in Aztec territory. Hogg left the net in pursuit of the ball and forced Triadis to the end line. Hogg then chased him down and dove as Triadis cut back leaving an empty net, albeit at a tough angle, and Triadis missed it wide.
In the 79 minute following a corner kick, the ball bounced out to the Bruins' Anderson Asideu, who sent a missile from 30 yards out towards the upper left corner of the goal that Hogg made a fantastic save on to knock it up and over the crossbar.
In the 84 minute, Aleks Berkolds was whistled for tripping inside the box to set up a penalty kick for the Bruins. Milan Iloski missed the shot high and the Aztecs were able to avoid danger in the match's final five minutes.
German's goal came in the 40 minute, his first penalty kick of the season.
The Aztecs finish the year 7-10-1 and 2-8-0 in Pac-12 play.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Senior GK Cameron Hogg – Career-high seven saves
"He was fantastic in these last three games and tonight, he was simply special." – Lev Kirshner
STAT OF THE MATCH
The Bruins outshot the Aztecs 13-0 in the second half and had five shots on goal.
THE NOTE I
This was just the Aztecs seventh win against UCLA in 62 chances and their first road victory against the Bruins since November 29, 1987, a 2-1 win.
THE NOTE II
This loss could knock the Bruins out of the NCAA Tournament. They would've been able to essentially clinch an at-large bid with a victory, but now will have to wait anxiously to see if the NCAA committee awards them a berth.