Game 1: SDSU hands Tritons third loss to Aztecs in a month
The Tritons would kickoff the regional tournament by facing off against SDSU, who had the first two encounters of the season already. UCSD were hoping that this tournament would allow them to hit the next gear in their development as in past seasons, this tournament has always elevated their level of play.
The game would kickoff with the Tritons dominating the first half, possessing in the Aztecs’ half for the entirety of the first half. UCSD would see multiple chances in front of goal, it came to the point where the Aztecs were throwing bodies in their own box to prevent the Tritons from getting a clear shot on goal. The Tritons had finally found their true form, the combinations between players were exceptional and it felt as if the Tritons were going to take the three points. However, the Tritons would almost open the score as a long shot was taken and nearly went into the upper left corner. Soon after this shot, the Aztecs found a quick counter-attack and punished the Tritons. The half would end 1-0 in favor of SDSU and the light at the end of the tunnel was dimming down.
The second half would be underway and UCSD knew they had to push incredibly hard to even scrape a point. As time passed, the desperation began to kick in, long balls were flying around and UCSD were able to contain any counter-attacks that SDSU threw at them. With ten minutes left on the clock, the Tritons began dumping balls into the box and hoping for a moment of magic. It seemed like that moment had come when a ball fell into the box and UCSD’s striker was left alone with 2 defenders on the goal line. However it was shut down as the defenders were able to deflect the shot. Another opportunity came about and it ended in the same results. Fate was simply not on the Tritons side as the game would end 2-0 in favor of SDSU.
Game 2: Loss to Stanford sucks life out of Tritons
UCSD would only need a draw to go through to the knockout stage, as Stanford had lost to SDSU 4-0. However, the Tritons looked defeated as the previous game took a toll on them. The game would kickoff with Stanford creating a kickball environment, balls flying around, creating a bunch of chaos. Yet, the Tritons were able to deal with this type of game and created multiple chances to take the lead, but they failed to convert. The half would end 0-0 and the Tritons were looking forward to a knockout game later that day.
Stanford started the second half with a more aggressive approach. Focusing less on defending and more on finding that goal that would take them to the next round. It seemed as if the Tritons were complacent with a draw, so for the full 45 minutes, they defended like never before. When a team defends for so long, mistakes are bound to happen and that is exactly what occurred towards the end of the game. Stanford took the lead with three minutes left to play. It was almost impossible for UCSD to qualify to the next round and that is exactly what happened. The Tritons lost 0-1 to Stanford and exited from the tournament on early notice.