The men’s soccer game against UCSB Wednesday night at Aggie Stadium established two things: One is that the Gaucho soccer fans are the most loud and obnoxious in the Big West. The other is (spoiler alert) that the Aggie men’s soccer team, despite the loss, is going to be competitive in conference the rest of the way.
Sure, the double overtime loss to the Gauchos in Santa Barbara earlier in the season was heartbreaking. This 2-0 loss on a frigid night in Davis was really no different. The Ags should, however, take pride in the fact that they battled with a quality opponent and showed their ability to hang with a team that was national champion in 2006 and national runner-up in 2004.
Also encouraging for UC Davis is the play of its defense. They defended a strong Santa Barbara counterattack for most of the game and gave them very few easy looks. In the first half, despite 7 Gaucho shots, the defense shut out Santa Barbara.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Aggies play was the athleticism of their attackers. Late in the first half, despite a fairly stagnant attack, Dan Reese collected a ball at midfield and broke away from the pack, before blasting a ball off of the crossbar. Lance Patterson also showed some serious playmaking ability on the left side.
One hates to be entirely optimistic after a loss, but considering the fact that the Aggies hung tough with a literally world-class roster (the Gauchos boast 10 international players).Also, have heart Aggie fans. Though the UCSB faithful were out in full force, it is important to remember that they don’t have an American football team playing on Saturdays.