UCSB Hosts Portland in Final Non-Conference Tilt

Brandon Magpayo (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Brandon Magpayo (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• The Schedule
Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara (1-4-2) vs. RV Portland (4-2)
All-time record vs. the Pilots: 1-3-1
Last meeting: Sept. 11, 2005 - UCSB def. UP, 1-0
UCSB form: L L L L W
Portland form: W W W L W

• Video Stream Available
UCSBGauchos.com will offer a live video broadcast 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 won their first game of the season after topping previously unbeaten No. 14 Pacific with a 1-0 shutout victory at home. UCSB dominated the match from start to finish, outshooting the Tigers 14-5 while holding Pacific without a shot on target all night. After a scoreless first half, Ignacio Tellechea put the Gauchos on the board with the game-winner in the 59th minute. Joseph Ammer started the play by beating his defender at the top corner of the box, connecting on a give-and-go with Rodney Michael, and firing a shot towards the goal. Pacific's keeper couldn't handle it and Tellechea came running through to knock the ball into the goal. 

On Sunday afternoon, UCSB hosted the Inaugural Community Shield Match against Club América U-20 and rallied for a 2-1 victory in the exhibition match. After Club América scored first right before the half, the Gauchos responded with goals from Derek Kryzda in the 47th minute and Koby Bench in the 87th minute to earn the win. The match served as the kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. 

• Portland Preview
The Pilots are coming off a 1-0 victory over Oregon State and are receiving votes in the latest United Soccer Coaches Poll. Both of Portland's losses this season have come in double overtime, a 3-2 loss to UNLV in the season opener, and most recently a 2-1 loss to Cal. They boast one of the top offensive attacks in the nation, ranking third in goals per game (2.83), fourth in shots on goal per game (8.17) and points per game (8.33), sixth in assists per game (2.67) and rank 12th in shots per game (16). The attack is led by sophomore Benji Michel, who has scored six goals this season, three of which came in one game against Fairfield. According to Top Drawer Soccer, Michel is rated as the No. 2 player in the West Coast Conference and No. 66 player in the nation. 

• Home Sweet Home
UCSB is in the midst of a five-game homestand and has fared much better when at Harder Stadium this season. The Gauchos are unbeaten in three of their four home matches (1-1-2) while having lost all three of its matches on the road. Historically, UCSB has been dominant at home, with a winning percentage of .730 (135-44-23) in the Tim Vom Steeg era (since 1999). 

• Winner Winner
With a 1-0 victory over No. 14 Pacific on Friday night, UCSB snapped a six-match winless streak to start the season, its longest in the Tim Vom Steeg era and longest since it opened the 1998 season 0-8. The shutout victory was the Gauchos' third shutout this season, in seven games, and kept them undefeated against Pacific (8-0) all-time.  

• Forward March
First-year Gaucho forwards, sophomore transfer Ignacio Tellechea and freshman Rodney Michael, have led the offensive attack for the Gauchos this season and are the only two players to have scored. Both have a pair of goals to their name and Michael leads the team with 18 shots (10 shots on goal), while Tellechea has tallied 10 total shots, seven of which have been on target. 

• Rodney in Top Form
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 last Saturday against Akron and followed it up with his second goal in the very next match against St. John's. 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. Against No. 14 Pacific on Friday, Michael helped set up the game-winning goal and earned an assist on the play. 

• 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 four. Sophomore transfer Ignacio Tellechea provided the first against San Diego State before Rodney Michael scored in two straight followed by another Tellechea goal against Pacific.

• 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.