LA JOLLA, Calif. - The fourth-ranked University of California San Diego men's soccer team scored three second-half goals and downed Occidental College, 3-0, in its home opener at Triton Soccer Stadium on Saturday evening.
Coming off Thursday night's draw at Biola, UC San Diego improved to 1-0-1 in the early going. Occidental (0-1), an NCAA Division III school located in Los Angeles, was contesting its first match of the 2017 campaign.
After producing 29 shots without a goal during 110 minutes in La Mirada two nights prior, the Tritons were frustrated by the opposition through just over 50 minutes on Saturday as well. They held a 9-1 shot advantage at the break.
Finally, however, at 50:03, head coach Jon Pascale's touted true freshman tandem of Brett Jones and Jonathan Sabouri (Carlsbad/San Dieguito HS Academy) teamed up for the Tritons' first score of 2017. It proved to be the winner.
Sabouri lifted a ball forward from the center of the park, and Jones closed on the defender trying to clear it and managed to tap it ahead to leave him effectively one on one with Tiger goalkeeper Alex Bonomi. He made no mistake with his right-footed shot on the ground, finding the back of the net for his first career goal. Both players had started the match on the bench, but were on the field when the whistle blew to start the second half. It was Sabouri's college debut after missing Thursday's opener through illness. The assist marked his first career point.
Junior Christian Cordell and Nolan Mac put the result out of doubt at 86:16 and 87:47, respectively. UCSD in fact was not credited with another shot between Jones and Cordell's goals more than 36 minutes apart. All four of its shots in the second half were on frame, with three going for scores. Redshirt junior right back Jeff Powers assisted on Cordell's tally with a deep ball down that right side. Mac's was the first of the fourth-year senior left back’s Triton days, coming on a strong individual effort down his left blank.
UCSD's freshman goalkeeper, Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS), made two saves to notch his second individual shutout in as many games to begin his college career.
The Tritons' best opportunity in the first half was met with a triple save by Bonomi. Sabouri was sprung through on goal from a gorgeous ball over the top in the 24th that senior Malek Bashti flicked on with his head, but the Tiger sophomore was up to the challenge on successive efforts from straight on by Sabouri. Bashti got on the end of the second rebound, but his attempt, too, was turned away by Bonomi, who finished with five saves.
Occidental almost found itself on top at the very end of the initial frame in the 41st, as Liam Walsh was first to a missed clearance by senior center back Kyle Panganiban, but his shot, the only one by the Tigers over the first 45 minutes, was denied by Enciso.
The Tritons are back on the road next, traveling up to Azusa this Thursday night, Sept. 7, for a key regional tilt at Azusa Pacific at 7 p.m.
Triton Notes: UCSD is now 12-0 all-time against Occidental, including 7-0 in La Jolla ... The teams had not met since Oct. 4, 1999, a game which resulted in a 2-0 victory in Los Angeles for the Tritons ... UCSD last played Oxy in La Jolla in 1998, winning 4-1, and has outscored the Tigers 46-4 over 12 total matchups ... UCSD is 13-0-1 at home since the start of the 2016 season, and an unbeaten 15-0-2 over its last 17 in La Jolla since a 2-1 loss to Stanislaus State on Sept. 27, 2015 ... Christian Cordell's goal was the sixth of his career, and Jeff Powers' assist his fourth ... UCSD had 12 corner kicks to zero by Biola in Thursday's opener, and added three more to just one by Oxy on Saturday ... Nolan Mac and Matt Merrill made their 2017 season debuts as starters after sitting out Thursday with slight knocks, while Cordell earned a start on the right side of midfield after coming off the bench two nights ago.