Playoff preview: men's soccer to face off against UCLA at Merlo

By Morgan Wahler | November 14, 2018 4:16pm
The Pilots are playing in their first home playoff game since 2002 on Thursday.
Media Credit: Paula Ortiz Cazaubon / The Beacon

For the first time since 2002, Portland will be hosting an NCAA tournament game on Merlo Field. The no. 21 NCAA ranked Portland Pilots will face the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins on Pilot territory this Thursday night at 4 p.m.

In this 2018 season, the Pilots have gone 11-3-3 overall, scoring some big pre-season wins against University of Washington and UC Santa Barbara. In the West Coast Conference, the team went 3-3-1 and are ranked fifth among the eight West Coast schools

Early this week, seven Pilots earned all-WCC titles, honors that are voted by the eight head coaches of the conference. Gio Magana-Rivera and Benji Michel made the First Team, Rey Ortiz made Second Team, Esteban Calvo, Malcolm Dixon, and Lionel Mills as Honorable Mentions and Jake Arteaga on the All-Freshman Team.

This season, the visiting Pacific 12 Conference team from Los Angeles had an overall record 10-8 and conference record 5-5. They are ranked fourth in their conference of six teams.The Bruins managed early wins against Oregon State and University of Washington, but in the second half of the conference fell to both teams. 

UCLA’s team featured five players in the All-Pac-12 teams. Erik Holt and Brian Iloski on First Team, Anderson Asiedu on Second Team and Eric Iloski and Matthew Powell as Honorable Mentions. 

The winner of this match will face no. 3 University of Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA tournament on November 18 at 1:00 p.m. in Kentucky. 

Morgan Wahler is a sports reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at