Wednesday, September 9, 2015

UCLA Bruins 1 at Georgetown Hoyas 3 (NCAA Soccer) - September 7, 2015

I came to Washington to attend a couple of Nationals games, and I saw the horrid Braves on Sunday. But when I was told that my ticket from a postponed game months ago wasn't good for exchange for Monday's Mets matinee, I decided to forgo MLB, who won't be seeing any of my money for a while. That doesn't necessarily mean I won't be attending, but I will be using other methods of gaining access and spending not a cent on food or souvenirs.

Anyway, with Monday afternoon suddenly open, I looked for other alternatives and found something intriguing as #12 Georgetown soccer was hosting #1 UCLA in an afternoon game. So I made my way up to Shaw Field to see some amateur sports.

Shaw Field is located in the northwest quadrant of Georgetown's campus, which is itself in the northwest section of Washington. There is no convenient Metro station; I walked about 30 minutes from Rosslyn on the Blue Line, concluding with a short jaunt through campus, which is under quite a bit of construction. There are buses that will get you closer, including the Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle (GUTS), but you'll have to do that research yourself.

Shaw Field opened in 1996 and both the men's and women's squads practiced there for five years before the first game was held during the fall season in 2001. During the summer of 2012, the venue underwent major renovations, including a new scoreboard and a larger grandstand with chairback seating. There is no shade here, so make sure to bring a hat and some sunscreen if you are there for an afternoon game.

There is a small concession stand with burgers and yakitori, though the menu might change from game to game. You can bring in your own food as well, this is a pretty relaxed venue here.

Tickets are $10 for GA, and the crowd was surprisingly strong for a holiday Monday, with 2,159 on hand, exceeding capacity by 534. Those without seats were students who got to stand along the endline and far sidelines, a great vantage point that had me wishing I was a lot younger. They were cheering their team on from the get go and really got under the nerves of the visiting Bruins.

There's not much else to discuss here; collegiate soccer is not popular and thus the venues are pretty sparse in terms of amenities. Still, if you are in Washington and want to check out a sporting event that few others will even consider, look to Georgetown soccer.

The Game

It is early in the season but defending runner-up UCLA had won their first game before losing to Maryland on Friday, while Georgetown (starters above), initially ranked fourth in the country, had lost twice after a scoreless draw and were ranked #12.

The first half hour was played mostly at midfield as both teams struggled to create meaningful chances. After 35 minutes, Brett Campbell came on for Georgetown (there were unlimited substitutions in this game and players were allowed back in after being taken out) and promptly scored when a cross from Keegan Rosenberry deflected off a defender to Campbell, who laced it past Juan Cervantes (below).

Early in the second half, a seemingly harmless pass from Hoya Brandon Allen was beautifully headed by Arun Basuljevic (#7 below) over a flat footed Cervantes and Georgetown had doubled their lead.

UCLA got one back when Georgetown failed to clear and the ball bounced to Jackson Yueill who slotted home. UCLA continued to press but could not find the equalizer, and their defense was left open, allowing a 3-on-2 break that finished with Campbell converting to clinch the game with three minutes to go.

UCLA was visibly frustrated and spent the last few minutes committing some hard tackles, leading to some words and eventually a scuffle (above) that resulted in a yellow card to UCLA's Abu Daniadi but nothing more serious.

There's the final above, a pretty good game for the last hour or so. Compared to the Nats meltdown that took 3 1/2 hours, I think I made the right choice.


In college soccer, the clock counts down from 45 minutes and is stopped after goals and injuries or during extended arguments, so the time of goals is reported like hockey. I actually prefer this because it is more precise.

After the rankings were released on Tuesday, Georgetown had fallen to #25 while UCLA had dropped to #8.



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