After dominating in a 3-1 victory over cross-town rivals Westmont last week, the UCSB men’s soccer team will face a more difficult challenge on Friday when the Mexican U-20 squad comes to Harder Stadium.

Expectations will be high for the Gauchos on the heels of yet another top-10 ranking, this time by Soccer America, which ranks UCSB as the fifth best team in the nation. So far, the team has garnered four other preseason rankings in the top ten in the nation, including fourth from Top Drawer Soccer, sixth from College Soccer News, and eighth by the NSCAA. These rankings are the highest ever for the Gauchos, who will host the College Cup – soccer’s answer to college basketball’s Final Four – in December.

Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg will look to keep tweaking his lineups in preparation for the regular season, which begins on Sep. 1 at Cal State Bakersfield. Sophomore forward Sam Garza, a transfer from the University of Denver, will be someone to watch, as Vom Steeg has stated that he expects Garza to contribute immediately. In the exhibition against Westmont scored one goal and assisted on another.

Junior midfielder Danny Barrera will be another player of note for UCSB, as he was named one of the eight best midfielders in the nation in the Preseason All-American rankings. It is the second time Barrera has been selected into that group.

Kickoff this Friday is at 7:30 p.m. after the Gaucho women’s soccer team finishes their 5 p.m. match against Saint Joseph’s.