UCSB Returns Home to Face No. 14 Pacific; Hosts Club América U-20 Sunday

Kaya Fabbretti (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Kaya Fabbretti (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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• The Schedule
Friday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 14 Pacific (6-0)
All-time record vs. the Tigers: 7-0
Last meeting: Sept. 8, 1985 - UCSB def. UOP 1-0
UCSB form: L L L L 
Pacific form: W W W W

Sunday, Sept. 17 at 12:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara vs. Club América U-20
Inaugural Community Shield Match
Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff
UCSB form: L L L L
Club América U-20 form: W T W W

• Video Stream Available
UCSBGauchos.com will offer a live video broadcast of Friday night's match against No. 14 Pacific and Sunday's exhibition against Club America U-20 through Big West TV. Gerry Fall, Voice of the Gauchos, will be on hand for play-by-play duty while Dylan Murphy will provide color commentary. A link to the broadcast can be found on the UCSB men's soccer schedule page or by clicking here.

•Ticket Information
Season tickets and individual game tickets are available online here or call the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB (8272).

• The Week in Review
The Gauchos dropped both of their matches last week, facing a two-goal deficit in each before getting on the scoreboard and ultimately coming up short. UCSB welcomed Akron, ranked No. 20 by Soccer America and receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, to Harder Stadium on Saturday night and fell 3-1 to the Zips. Akron scored from a difficult angle in the seventh minute before tacking on a second goal right before the break. In the second half, the Gauchos showed some signs of life with a goal from Rodney Michael, coming off an assist from Brandon Magpayo on a free kick. UCSB kept up the pressure and almost scored the equalizer minutes later but Akron went on the counter attack, earned a penalty, and converted to seal the 3-1 win. The Gauchos then traveled to New York for a single match against St. John's on Tuesday and fell behind early 2-0, before Michael scored a goal to cut the Red Storm lead in half. Moments later off a corner kick, UCSB scored another goal, seemingly for the tie, but it was negated after an offside call and the Gauchos fell 2-1. 

• Pacific Preview
UCSB will face another tough test at home this Friday when it welcomes No. 14 Pacific (6-0) to Harder Stadium. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since Pacific reinstated its program in 2014 and has quickly become one of the premier teams in college soccer. Historically, the Gauchos have never lost to the Tigers, dominating the all-time series 7-0, with the last game taking place in 1985. On Friday, UCSB will be searching for its first win of the season while Pacific is looking for its seventh straight win. Offensively, the Tigers are averaging 2.5 goals per game to rank eighth in the country and boast a balanced attack with nine players having scored at least one goal and six that have two. 

• Club América U-20 Comes to Soccer Heaven
Announced on Aug. 15 by Tim Vom Steeg, UCSB will host Club América Under-20, a professional development team based in Mexico City, for an exhibition match this Sunday, Sept. 17 at 12:00 p.m. at Harder Stadium. The Inaugural Community Shield match will serve as a kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. For ticket information for this match click here.

• Back-to-Back for Michael
Freshman Rodney Michael, a Sierra Leone native and last year's California Gatorade Player of the Year out of Dunn School, has started to find his rhythm for the young Gauchos. The fleet-footed forward scored the first goal of his collegiate career on Saturday against Akron and followed it up with his second goal in the very next match against St. John's on Tuesday. Both goals came by way of a header from close range following crosses into the box from Brandon Magpayo against the Zips and Kavian Kashani against the Red Storm. 

• Starting to Click?
With 16 new faces on the roster and only three returning starters from a year ago, the Gauchos have struggled offensively to start the season. After failing to score a goal in the first three games of the year, however, UCSB has scored a goal in each of the past three. Sophomore transfer Ignacio Tellechea provided the first against San Diego State before Rodney Michael has knocked in a goal in each of the past two games. 

• Unfamiliar Territory
UCSB is winless through the first six games of the season for the first time in the Tim Vom Steeg era and first time since the 1998 season when the Gauchos started 0-8. Since Vom Steeg took over the helm in 1999, the longest winless streak to start a season was in 2010 when UCSB started 0-2-2 before winning 10 of its next 11 and advancing to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. In 1998, the Gauchos finished the year 2-17-1 with its first win coming in the ninth game of the season, a 13-0 rout over Menlo College. 

• He's a Keeper
Freshman goalkeeper Alan Carrillo has made an immediate impact for the Gauchos in his debut season. The La Mirada, Calif. native and St. John Bosco High School product has played all but one half in goal and leads the team with 21 saves. Carrillo earned Big West Defensive Player of the Week honors after an impressive first week of the season where he recorded two shutouts. He tallied a career-high eight saves against San Diego earlier this year and totaled four in two matches this past week. 

• Injury Report
The Gauchos will be without star midfielder Kevin Feucht for the 2017 season after the reigning Big  West Midfielder of the Year suffered an ACL injury during the first day of training camp. Feucht, a two-time First Team All-Big West and NSCAA Far West All-Region selection, led UCSB with 11 goals while adding two assists during his junior year. 

• Don't You Noah?
Sophomore New Zealand native Noah Billingsley was selected to the Big West Preseason All-Conference team alongside Kevin Feucht, and is the only active player on the roster to have scored a goal during the 2016 season. Billingsley, an All-Big West Freshman Team selection, finished last season with two goals and three assists and figures to see an increased role on the offensive end in 2017. 

• Incoming Impact
The Gauchos incoming class was ranked as the No. 15 recruiting class in the nation by College Soccer News. California Gatorade Player of the Year from Dunn School, Rodney Michael,  leads the group of signees and will factor in prominently on the attacking front. Michael was also named to Top Draw Soccer's Preseason Best XI Freshman Team. In the exhibition against Westmont, UCSB featured a defense full of newcomers that included goalkeeper Alan Carillo, Adrian Adames, Frazer Poulter and Kavian Kashani. At forward, Ignacio Tellechea will be a factor as well after transferring from West Virginia Tech, where he scored 20 goals last season. 

• Big West Preseason Poll
For the fifth consecutive season, UCSB was selected by the eight conference head coaches to repeat as Big West North Division Champions. The Gauchos have yet to let any of the voters down as they have claimed the title each of the past four seasons and will look to continue the trend in 2017. UCSB earned six-out-of-eight first place votes and garnered a total of 28 points while UC Davis was picked to finish second with 25 points and one first place vote. Cal Poly received the only other first place vote and ranked third with 17 points while Sacramento State rounded out the poll in fourth with 10 points. Cal State Northridge tallied 30 points and six first place votes to lead the South Division Poll. 

• 2016 in Brief
After being selected as the unanimous choice to repeat as Big West North Division Champions in the Preseason Conference Poll, the Gauchos did just that with a fourth consecutive regular season title after posting a 10-7-3 overall record including a 6-1-3 mark in conference play. After advancing to the Big West Tournament, the Gauchos were upended 2-1 in the semifinals against Cal State Fullerton to see their season come to a close. UCSB opened the year strong with four straight wins before dropping five in-a-row, with one goal losses in OT to UCLA and Cal. The tough non-conference slate set the Gauchos up well for conference play, as they began the league schedule with a nine-game unbeaten streak with six wins and three ties.