There was nothing friendly about the 2019 edition of the Bryant and Sons Cup.
Every inch of the Harder Stadium Stadium turf was hotly contested as UCSB escaped with a 1-0 victory over crosstown rival Westmont.
“It was going to be a little bit of a rough game today no mater what because it was our third day of training,” explained UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. “The idea that you actually have to put a team on the field after three days of practice is not something you want to do as a coach.”
Despite the overall lack of sharpness UCSB earned a crucial early goal in the 10th minute. A Westmont foul gave the Gauchos a free kick about 22 yards out from goal.
Thibault Candia delivered a perfect ball that bent towards the far post as 6’3” Taieb Faouzi elevated and placed a header into the back of the net.
“We worked on those kinds of free kicks the whole week and just applied what the coaches told us to do,” Faouzi said. “What I did today looked pretty easy because we work on it almost every day and Thibault did what he’s supposed to do in training and I did what I’m supposed to do in training and we just scored.”
The Westmont defense asserted itself in the second half led by Dos Pueblos High product Tim Heiduk and Carpinteria High product goalkeeper Edward “Lalo” Delgado.
The physicality of the game nearly boiled over in the 55th minute when a shoving match developed between the two teams near the sideline.
Overall 10 yellow cards were assessed between the two teams and UCSB reserve Omari Fontes was ejected in the 85th minute after receving his second yellow forcing the Gauchos to play the final five minutes a man down.
“Our form tonight was probably better than how I felt coming into tonight,” said Westmont head coach Dave Wolf. “I think that was a classic Westmont performance. I haven’t seen one of those in a while so it felt good to see that out there tonight.”
A key sequence occurred in the 69th minute when Westmont’s Samuel Tuscano broke free and was 1-on-1 with UCSB goal keeper Alan Carillo, who came on at halftime. Carillo came out of goal and forced Tuscano to dribble wide and the ensuing pass to the top of the box was cut out by the UCSB defense.
That play was perhaps Westmont’s best goal-scoring opportunity, but led directly to a UCSB counter attack. Rodney Michael found Carter Clemmensen with a cross directly in front of goal, but his shot from point blank range went off the post.
Without a second goal the Gauchos had to rely on their defense to put the game away and found a way with only ten men.
UCSB will host UNLV on Friday 8/30 beginning at 7 p.m. Westmont will travel to UCLA for another exhibition on Tuesday at 7 p.m.