OCFC defeat UCLA in friendly

by Art Eftekhari

orange county fc score two second half goals to defeat UCLA in a friendly match that is already the feel good story of the year

Los Angeles, CA - Head coach Paul Caligiuri and OCFC traveled to Los Angeles on April 13th to face UCLA in a warm-up match to prepare for their big showdown with SoCal SC two days later.

The match did not get started off well for OCFC as they fell behind in the first five minutes when UCLA midfielder Joab Santoyo blasted a shot outside the penalty area to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. 

Throughout the match it was evident that UCLA had a plan to keep possession and play a disciplined match. The Bruins looked comfortable at home and took a 1-0 lead into the half.

Five minutes after the restart Alessandro Canale connected with Staforde Palmer and the English striker fired a low shot into the net to level the score at 1-1.

OCFC captain and center back Erik Mueller was the man of the match as he commanded the back line and was at the forefront of denying scoring opportunities for the Bruins on more than one occasion.

Mueller's consistent play was no surprise but the excitement involved four teenage prospects who suited up for OCFC. Sixteen year-olds Coby Isaoglu earned valuable playing time on defense and keeper Joey Diaz was tested between the posts.

In the final minutes, fourteen year-old Nicolai Dejbakhsh came in at center back and sixteen year-old Nicky Lopez was subbed in as a striker. 

The final minutes seemed like something taken from a well-written movie script as Nicky Lopez stole the show by scoring the winning goal in the 87th minute after he received a pass from midfielder Jonathan Romero. 

Lopez was mobbed by his teammates and it was the perfect ending to the match as OCFC won 2-1. When asked to describe his feelings after the game, Nicky Lopez had an apparent glow on his face but could only utter one word: Amazing.

It was a friendly match but it was a match that Isaoglu, Diaz, Dejbakhsh, and Lopez will always remember. The question now is what will these four teenagers do for an encore?

Buy your OCFC tickets now!