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Rutgers men's soccer prepares for road game against UCLA

The Rutgers men's soccer team will look to sophomore midfielder Cole Cruthers to control the midfield against UCLA. – Photo by

The Rutgers men's soccer team will travel to the West Coast to take on UCLA on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights (1-2-1, 0-0-0) are looking to build off their win over St. Peter's last Monday and earn a victory against the Bruins (1-1-1, 0-0-0). 

Last season, UCLA defeated Rutgers by a score of 1-0 at Yurcak Field on Busch campus. The Knights outshot the Bruins 15-6, but Nate Crockford had a strong day between the posts and made six saves to earn the shutout.

Overall, Rutgers is 1-5 against UCLA, with the last win dating back to 1990.

The Bruins are coming off a 1-1 tie with CSUN and have had a slow start to the season.

Jack Sarkos has scored a team-leading 3 goals to open the 2023 campaign. Sarkos transferred from Lehigh University and netted 8 goals last season. The Knights will look to limit Sarkos from getting scoring opportunities on Saturday.

Tommy Silva is another player to watch for UCLA, as he led his team with eight assists last season. Despite being a defender, Silva is a playmaker who contributes to the offense regularly and already has two assists this season.

Defense is where the Bruins shine over Rutgers. Last season, UCLA conceded 20 goals while the Knights conceded 35. Rutgers will need to take advantage of its opportunities in front of goal to find success in the match.

The Bruins have turned to Sam Joseph to take the role of starting goalkeeper after Crockford transfered to Wisconsin. Joseph has started every game this season, owns a .786 save percentage and allows opposing teams to score 1 goal per game. 

The Knights will look to graduate student midfielder Jackson Temple and sophomore forward Ian Abbey to contribute to the team's attack. Rutgers will need to keep possession of the ball in the midfield and will look to junior midfielder Matthew Acosta and sophomore midfielder Cole Cruthers to do just that.

The Knights will face a tough matchup against UCLA, a team that will be a conference opponent next season, as the Bruins recently joined the Big Ten.

The game between Rutgers and UCLA will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday and will be played at the Wallis Annenberg Stadium in Los Angeles. The game will also be broadcast on Pac-12 Plus.

"I'm excited for it," said head coach Jim McElderry. "I'm really looking forward to our guys getting out there and enjoying it and really kind of experiencing what is going to be coming in the future."

For more updates on the Rutgers men's soccer team, follow @TargumSports on X.

To view more of Matthew Mangam's work, follow @matthewmangam on X.

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