Corvallis, Ore. – A golden goal by sophomore Timmy Mueller gave the 19th-ranked Oregon State men’s soccer team a 1-0, double-overtime victory over UCLA on Friday, ending a decade of frustration against the Bruins.
Mueller took a long pass from defender Sam Tweeton, went in 1-on-1 and chipped the ball over goalie Pepe Baroso Silva for the game-winner at 101:56. It was the Beavers’ (6-3-0, 1-0-0 Pac-12) first result over UCLA since Oct. 9, 2005; they were 0-17-2 in their last 19 games of the series.
“They are an attacking –based team so we knew they were going to get up on the attack,” Mueller said in detailing the action leading to his team-best sixth goal of the season unfolded.
“Sam played a perfect ball over the top, it stuck right on the grass so I didn’t have to pick it out of the air. The goalie came out a bit, he was questioning what he should do because it was an awkward ball, and I just put it over him.”
Mueller had just re-entered the game after sitting out the first overtime of OSU’s Pacific-12 Conference opener. It was his 17th career goal, leaving him just one score short of OSU’s career top-10 list in only 30 games.
It was OSU’s second overtime win this fall, bookending a 1-0, opening-day win over Marquette at Lorenz Field. It likewise ended a three-game losing streak; the Beavers had dropped successive one-goal games to Portland, Gonzaga and Seattle after ripping off five straight wins to start the season.
“It’s a good start, but we don’t want to end here,” Mueller said. “We definitely have to build from here and get better every day.”
UCLA outshot the Beavers 15-12 but OSU goalie Nolan Wirth had five saves to notch his fourth shutout of the season. Mueller’s goal came against the run of play, but OSU coach Steve Simmons said that’s to be expected when playing the Bruins 94-4-0, 0-1-0).
“There aren’t many teams who will have the run of play against UCLA,” Simmons said. “They’re going to do what they’re going to do, we’re going to do what we’re going to do.
“Against this type of team we are going to be very staunch defensively, we’re going to be productive on our transition, and we are going to be hard to beat.
“Over time, teams like UCLA open up a little bit and give us the space to transition into,” which is exactly what transpired before Mueller’s game-winner.
Shots were even 4-4 in a scoreless first half, when neither team enjoyed a territorial advantage. UCLA’s Erik Holt had the only shot on goal but it was easily saved by Wirth.
UCLA controlled play in the second half and outshot the Beavers 7-5. Wirth tipped a free kick from Seyi Adekoya’s from the top of the circle over the crossbar in the 78th minute kept the game scoreless.
Wirth and the defense also turned away a flurry of point-blank shots in the final 25 seconds of the first overtime. The Bruins unleashed at least three potential game-winners from inside the 18-yard box, but OSU didn’t yield and the game continued.
“Looking back on it, that says a lot about our resilience and character,” Simmons said. “Those are moments when games are won or lost and our guys won that moment.
“It gave us a lot of confidence and you could see that early in the second overtime,” when OSU outshot the Bruins 2-0. “We got one of our forwards in and Timmy is hard to stop when he’s in that position.
“He’s a finisher, he’s strong. When the space opened up, as powerful as Timmy is, it was a nice deft touch and a class finish to put it over the keeper.
“It was a great ball from Sam. He wins the ball, looks up like he’s supposed to do, sees there’s space and plays it right away. Sam did his job in that moment, and Timmy did his.”
The Beavers resume Pac-12 play at 1:30 p.m. Sunday against San Diego State at Lorenz Field. OSU leads the all-time series 11-9-3 and is 6-3-2 vs. the Aztecs at Lorenz Field.
For more information on the Oregon State men’s soccer team, follow the club’s official Twitter account at Twitter.com/OSUBeavers_MSOC.