UCLA Upsets Sixth-Ranked Akron on the Road
Two-goal performances from Seyi Adekoya and Jose Hernandez led the No. 25 UCLA Bruins to a, 4-2, upset victory over the No. 6 Akron Zips on Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium. Abu Danladi racked up a trio of assists in the win as well. UCLA’s Seyi Adekoya with an assist from Abu Danladi gave a beautiful give-and-go in the defensive third to open up the scoring in the 7th minute. It tool AKR’s Adam Najem until the 28th minutes to even up the score with the help of Stuart Holthusen.
College Soccer News: “Today’s match was going to be pivotal in determining the direction and the outcome of our season,” said UCLA Head Coach Jorge Salcedo. “Playing on the road against a team that is in the top four in the RPI rankings was a huge challenge, but a great opportunity. I could not be more proud of our guys and their resilience. To be up and have Akron tie the game twice, but still find a way to score four goals speaks volumes about our character.”
UCLA (8-7-1) took the lead early in the match with a goal from Adekoya just over seven minutes in. After Danladi received the ball at the left edge of the box, he tapped a beautiful back-heel pass onto the feet of Adekoya charging in. The sophomore striker then finished inside the right post to put the Bruins up, 1-0. Just over 2,000 fans watched this college soccer match.
Akron (12-3-2) responded later in the first half with a goal on its first shot on net of the contest. In the 29th minute, Adam Najem received a long pass from Stuart Holthusen in behind the Bruin defense. Najem then took one touch and beat Pepe Barroso-Silva to even the count at one goal apiece.
Under two minutes later, Danladi made a wonderful individual effort to set up Hernandez for the go-ahead goal. The Ghanaian striker made a run down the right side of the field and muscled his way around the Zips defender at the right edge of the penalty area. He then slid a pass across to Hernandez who was all alone in the front for the close-range strike.
At the half, UCLA was up by a goal and out-shooting Akron, 5-4.
Once again, Akron found a way to tie the game in the 54th minute on a goal from Goncalo Soares. After getting a pass from Holthusen, Soares bent a shot into the upper corner of the net from the top right edge of the penalty area to knot the game at two.
However, the resilient UCLA side responded with the eventual game-winning goal 20 minutes later. Again, Danladi was involved with a brilliant pass to Adekoya. The two combined for a give-and-go to spring Adekoya down the right side of field. The Seattle native did the rest from there, holding off the defender and scoring past the diving goalkeeper to the low left side to put the Bruins on top.
Adekoya created another opportunity for UCLA in 82nd minute when he was dragged down inside the area, earning the Bruins a penalty kick. Hernandez calmly stepped to the spot and chipped the goalkeeper to push the final score to 4-2 and secure the road victory for UCLA.
Overall, UCLA and Akron each finished with 11 shots, with the Zips earning three corners to the Bruins one. Barroso-Silva finished with two saves in the win, while Jake Fenlason made one stop in the loss.
With his two goals today, Jose Hernandez moves his season total to 11, just one goal back of the UCLA all-time record for goals by a freshman in a single season.
The Bruins now return home to host Oregon State and Washington next weekend to close out their home schedule. The first match will be against the Beavers on Friday, November 7 at 2:00pm PT and will be part of a double-header with the women’s team. Both matches can be seen live on the Pac-12 Networks.
Scoring summary: UCLA’s Seyi Adekoya, Seyi with an assist from Danladi, Abu gave a beautiful give-and-go in the defensive third to open up the scoring in the 7th minute. It tool AKR’s Adam Najem until the 28th minutes to even up the score with the help of Stuart Holthusen.