By FRANCO PANIZO
A loaded slate of quality soccer action is headlined this week by a battle that should go a long way in determining just who has the best team on the West Coast.
UCSB, currently ranked No. 5 in the Fox Soccer/SBI Top 25 with a 4-0-1 record, takes on an 11th-ranked UCLA team that is beginning to bounce back from a dismal start to the year. Pro scouts will be focused on this talent-laden match-up featuring top prospects Kelyn Rowe (UCLA), Luis Silva, David Opuku and Sam Garza (UCSB).
South Florida has two home games to improve on its ranking of 15, as the Bulls host St. Louis on Friday and 16th-ranked UC-Irvine two days later. The latter match should be the more challenging of the two for USF head coach George Kiefer and his team, as UC-Irvine is currently undefeated at 6-0.
Another duel between ranked teams will be when Indiana (8) travels to take on St. John's (14). Currently undefeated, the Hoosiers will try to improve to 5-0-1 this season by beating a St. John's side that hasn't allowed a goal since its season-opening loss to No. 1 Maryland.
Here is a look at who the teams in the Fox Soccer/SBI Top 25 play this weekend:
North Carolina State at Maryland (1)
(2) UConn at Boston University
(3) North Carolina at Wake Forest
(5) UCSB at UCLA (11)
New Mexico at Akron (6)
(8) Indiana at St. John's (14)
Virginia Tech at Boston College (9)
Hartwick vs. Ohio State (12)
Michigan at Notre Dame (13)
St. Louis at South Florida (15)
Florida Gulf Coast at UC-Irvine (16)
(17) Central Florida at George Mason
Richmond at West Virginia (18)
(19) Virginia at Charlotte
(21) Northern Illinois vs. Xavier
Appalachian State at Coastal Carolina (22)
Seton Hall at Monmouth (23)
(24) Virginia Commonwealth at UAB
Tulsa vs. Washington (25)
Butler at Louisville (4)
Providence at Creighton (7)
(20) Old Dominion at Elon
(11) UCLA at San Diego
Cal Poly at Akron (6)
(8) Indiana at Rutgers
(10) Penn State at Hartford
(12) Ohio State at Coastal Carolina (22)
(13) Notre Dame at Michigan State
Iona at St. John's (14)
(16) UC-Irvine at South Florida (15)
(17) Central Florida at American
Duquesne at West Virginia (18)
UC Davis vs. Northern Illinois (21)
Bucknell at Monmouth (23)
(24) Virginia Commonwealth vs. Gardner-Webb
(25) Washington at SMU
What do you think of these matches? Do you see UCLA ousting UCSB? Think South Florida will win both its games? How will Indiana fare?
Share your thoughts below.