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Cal Men's Soccer vs. Furd on Pac-12 Networks Open Thread

The highest ranked team in the nation, Cal Men's Soccer, defended its home field in the home leg of the annual Bay Area Derby with Furd. Bears won 1-0 thanks to a goal by senior captain Steve Birnbaum, who scored off the rebound of his missed penalty kick. GOAL ON YOU BEARS!

Team photo for 2013 Cal Men's Soccer
Team photo for 2013 Cal Men's Soccer
Cal Men's Soccer Twitter


Watch the highlights from the Cal victory below:

Up Next:

Bears play a non-conference match when they host San Diego on Friday at 3:30 PM.



No.1 California Golden Bears (9-0-2, 3-0-1 in the Pac-12) vs. Stanfurd Cardinal (6-3-2, 1-2-1 Pac-12)

When: 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20

Where: Goldman Field at Edwards Stadium

TV: Pac-12 Bay Area

We are near the half way point of conference play in Men's Soccer (with only 6 teams, teams play each opponent twice in a home-and-home). The number 1 Cal Bears will look to stay at the top of the conference and the national ranking by beating the visiting Furd today.

From the game note:

Scouting the Bears

  • Cal has won two straight heading into this Sunday’s game
  • Senior defender Steve Birnbaum leads the Pac-12 in points (15), goals (7) and goals-per-game (0.64)
  • Birnbaum ranks second in the Pac-12 in points-per-game (1.36)
  • Nationally, Birnbaum ranks 24th in goals-per-game, 25th in goals, 37th in points and 41st in points-per-game
  • Senior midfielder Alec Sundly is tied for the Pac-12 lead in gamewinning goals (3)
  • Junior midfielder Seth Casiple and senior midfielder Ryan Neil are tied with several others at third in the Pac-12 in assists (4)
  • In assists per game, Neil is tied for third (0.40) and Casiple is tied for sixth (0.36) in the conference
  • Redshirt junior goalkeeper Justin Taillole ranks second in goals-against average (0.70) and third in save percentage (.778) in the Pac-12; his GAA ranks 25th nationally
  • Cal’s co-captains are Birnbaum, Sundly and Casiple
  • Kevin Grimes is in his 14th season as head coach at Cal; the former SMU All-American (class of 1990) claimed five Pac-10 Coach of the Year awards (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010) before the conference became the Pac-12 in 2011
  • Against ranked opponents, Grimes has a 40-37-16 all-time record at Cal; his record vs. ranked foes is 3-0-1 in 2013

Scouting the Cardinal

  • In its last two games, Stanford lost at UCLA, 1-0, on Oct. 10 and tied San Diego State, 3-3, in two overtimes on Oct. 13
  • Freshman forward Jordan Morris leads Stanford in points (13) and assists (5) and ranks second in goals (4)
  • Morris is tied for his team high in gamewinning goals (2)
  • Junior forward Zach Bateer leads the Cardinal in goals (5)
  • Senior Drew Hutchins has played every minute in goal for Stanford, posting a 1.30 GAA and .674 save percentage
  • Hutchins made two saves against the Bruins and five against the Aztecs
  • Against SDSU, sophomore midfielder Aaron Kovar scored in the 24th minute and sophomore midfielder Eric Verso scored in the 28th minute to give the Cardinal a 2-0 lead
  • Morris, who assisted on the first two goals against the Aztecs, scored in the 84th to give Stanford a 3-2 lead
  • Jeremy Gunn is in his second season as Stanford’s head coach

To be honest, I am a bit scared of this match. Furd has the knack to spoil great moments in Cal athletics. I do like how the Cal defense has played on the pitch this year. The undefeated Bears also have a few weapons offensively.

With the great success comes some TV exposure: Here are Cal Coach Kevin Grimes, with Steve Birnbaum and Ryan Neil on Yahoo SportsTalk Live:

Highlights including the overtime golden goal against UCLA:

For scoring that Golden Goal, Stafano Bonomo was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week.

Men's Soccer STANDINGS

Teams Pts Conf Overall
CALIFORNIA 10 3-0-1 9-0-2
WASHINGTON 10 3-0-1 10-0-3
UCLA 7 2-1-1 7-3-2
STANFORD 4 1-2-1 6-3-2
SAN DIEGO STATE 1 0-3-1 3-7-1
OREGON STATE 1 0-3-1 7-5-1

On the strength of its tie with Cal, Washington currently still share the top spot in the conference with the Bears. Washington does face UCLA tomorrow to complete the first half of their conference play.