MLS on Campus: As NCAA season kicks off, UCLA already on the move

UCLA goalkeeper Earl Edwards

Photo Credit: 
Photo courtesy of Trevor Ruszkowski

Welcome back to MLS On Campus, our weekly look at the goings-on in the college game. Every Monday, we'll give you the week's best highlights, the standout players, which games to watch in the week ahead and, of course, our national Top 10 list.

After all, the SuperDraft is only a few months away...

Big Men on Campus

New Mexico senior midfielder Michael Calderon – The Lobos were supposed to be less explosive on offense this season with Devon Sandoval and Blake Smith departing.

Sorry, who? No. 11 New Mexico smoked Villanova in their season opener 7-2, with Calderon providing two goals and an assist. The former Costa Rica U-17 joined the Lobos this season after transferring from Fairleigh Dickinson, and may be one to watch if UNM can continue to impress in the attack.

UCLA redshirt junior goalkeeper Earl Edwards, Jr. – UCLA had a good weekend in Bloomington, Ind., earning shutouts in a draw against No. 7 Notre Dame and a 1-0 victory over powerhouse Indiana. Edwards (above) notched five saves against the Irish, but his coup de grace came in his penalty save on the Hoosiers’ Dylan Mares to keep the 10-man Bruins in the game.

MLSsoccer.com’s Top 10

1) Georgetown, 1-1-0 (Last week: 1)

After dropping their opener to Cal on Friday, the Hoyas bounced back for a 2-0 win over Stanford. The loss in Berkeley smarts, but not as much seeing as the Golden Bears also beat Maryland. Steve Neumann had two goals, and though Brandon Allen has yet to get going, GU looks like they will be dangerous.

2) UCLA, 1-0-1 (Last week: 6)

This is a big jump for the Bruins, but it was just that kind of weekend. Playing two top-10 teams in their longest road trip of the year, UCLA earned two shutouts and defeated the reigning national champions in their home stadium. And Edwards? He's the real deal.

3) North Carolina, 2-0-0 (Last week: 4)

The Heels had to wait until the 103rd minute to knock off Monmouth, but followed up with a less suspenseful win over No. 13 Coastal Carolina on Monday. Through their five games this year (including three preseason contests), UNC have allowed just one goal.

4) Connecticut, 1-0-0 (Last week: 5)

The Huskies won their only game of the weekend and, more importantly, got a shutout. But a 1-0 win over Saint Francis is not a result that’s going to turn heads. UConn doesn’t have a particularly difficult schedule, so they’ll have to bide their time to really make a statement.

5) Indiana, 1-1-0 (Last week: 3)

The Hoosiers had a rough preseason, but got off on the right foot in their season opener against SMU, but they suffered a gut-wrenching loss to No. 9 UCLA in their next game. Todd Yeagley’s team didn’t run the table in 2012 either, though, and IU still won a national title. There’s still plenty of hope in Bloomington.

6) Maryland, 0-1-1 (Last week: 2)

On the one hand, Maryland’s attack is exactly as good as we expected, with five goals through two games. On the other, the Terrapins are starting freshmen at nearly every position in their defense, including both center backs and their ‘keeper. They’ll learn to gel at some point, but the sooner the better.

7) Akron, 2-0-0 (Last week: 8)

The Zips have started their first two regular season games of the post-Caleb Porter era with wins over the College of Charleston and Furman. Jared Embick’s team will be better tested this weekend with a road trip to play St. John’s and Rutgers, but for the moment it looks like Akron will be a part of the national conversation this year.

8) Creighton, 2-0-0 (Last Week: NR)

Hosting Tulsa for their first game of the regular season was a daunting challenge for Elmar Bolowich’s team, but the Bluejays passed with flying colors. Not only did Creighton shut out a team that scored 48 goals last season, but they also scored five times over their two games – a 2-0 win over Tulsa and a 3-0 victory over Cal Poly.

9) St. Louis, 1-0-0 (Last week: 9)

The Billikens suffered a scare in their season opener, conceding the opening goal to Oral Roberts with about a minute to go in the first half, but the end result was hardly surprising as SLU recovered to take a 3-1 win.

10) Louisville, 1-0-0 (Last week: NR)

The Cardinals kicked off their campaign with a trip to Charlottesville to face No. 25 Virginia, and after a back-and-forth contest emerged on top. It’s a big win for Louisville, and answers some of the questions of how they’re going to cope with the departures of Dylan Mares and Andrew Farrell, among others. 

Highlights

Cal beat two top-3 teams this weekend, but had to wait until overtime to drop Maryland.

San Diego entered their season-opening game with cross-town rivals San Diego State ranked No. 16 in the country. Didn’t stop the Aztecs from crushing them 5-0. Come for the highlights, stay for Morgan Sacco’s celebration on the fourth goal.

What to Watch for:

St. John’s vs. Akron, Friday, 8 pm ET

Much of this game’s watch-worthiness depends on how the Red Storm fare on Monday away to Virginia (7 pm ET). Still, St. John’s 2012 season saw them go 10-5-4 overall, 6-2-2 at Belson Stadium, and draw against Akron on the road. This won’t be an easy result for the Zips.

Coastal Carolina vs. Charlotte, Friday, 7 pm ET

The Chanticleers and 49ers aren’t the most hyped teams in the rankings, but we’re only two seasons removed from Charlotte’s run to the national championship game, and Coastal Carolina made the Sweet 16 last year before getting bounced by Maryland. Dark horses? You’ve got them.