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Cal Men's Soccer at Washington: Pac-12 opener on the Pac-12 Networks preview and gamethread

By one ranking system, this match pits the best in the country (Cal) vs. 2nd best (UW).

The Golden Bears are playing some exciting soccer with plenty of scoring
The Golden Bears are playing some exciting soccer with plenty of scoring
Cal Men's Soccer Facebook

Ugh, the battle of two proficient offenses was just as advertised. Unfortunately, the Bears (6-2-0, 0-1-0) found themselves down two goals late, but was only able to cut the lead to 1 with less than 4 minutes left. In the Pac-12 opener for both squad, Washington (8-1-0, 1-0-0) was triumphant with a 3-2 victory.

Cal's Stafano Bonomo got on the board first, but UW's senior Darwin Jones answered with two goals. As the Bears pushed for the equalizer, they conceded another goal to UW (Beau Blanchard). Bears never quit and fought until the end, cutting the lead to 1 via a penalty conversion but ran out of time.

1          2          F
No. 13 Cal                   1          1          2
No. 5 Washington        1          2          3

Scoring Summary
Cal –  32:44 Bonomo, Stefano (Hallisey, Connor)
UW –  37:37    Jones, Darwin (unassisted)
UW –  55:38    Jones, Darwin (Lange, Ian)
UW –  73:55    Blanchard, Beau (Wingo, Henry)
Cal –  86.29 Casiple, Seth (penalty)

Bears will look to bounce back at Oregon State on Sunday at 3 pm with the match on the Pac-12 Networks.


No.13 California Golden Bears (6-1-0) at No.5 Washington Huskies (7-1-0)

When: 7 pm PT

TV: Pac-12 Networks

It's possible that Bear Raid is infectious (someone calls the CDC! since they clearly don't have much else going on right now), but Cal Men's Soccer are on a hot scoring streak to open the year. The Golden Bears are on a prolific offensive roll with 21 goals in the last 6 matches (that's 3.5 goals per match) and scoring leader Connor Hallisey with 7 goals and 6 assists for 20 points almost matching the final point total of scoring leader Steve Birnbaum (who did miss some matches) who got 21 points.

The Coaches' poll has this match as No.13 Cal at No.5 UW, but our computer overlord at Bennett Rank which I think uses goal differentials has Cal as the best in the country, with UW 2nd. The computer does have UW as the favored (they are at home) for this match with the goal margin of 1.

After an impressive non-conference showing to prove that last year was no fluke, Cal Men's Soccer is opening Pac-12 play on the road.

The Bears are on a 6 match win streak after dropping the opener at North Carolina. More impressively, the Bears have defeated their opponents by a goal margin of 3, 5, 1, 2, 1, and 4. Washington is also have a good start on the year, but have only won their last 3 matches (all on the road though) by an one goal margin. The Huskies have suffered one loss at home this year, against a visitor from the East Bay when they lost 2-1 in OT to St. Mary's.

On the season, Washington has scored 20 goals while conceding 7 in 8 matches. The Golden Bears are more prolific with the scoring by netting 22 goals in just 7 matches, with 21 goals in the last 6.

Leading the Bears' attack is Connor Hallisey with not just a team high 7 goals but also 6 assists for a total of 20 points. The Bears have also got 5 goals apiece from Stefano Bonomo (who had a hat trick in a match) and Christian Thierjung (who scored the game winner in the closing minute of the match against USF last year). 7 different Golden Bears have had at least a goal so far. Even better news may be that 10 different Golden Bears have tallied an assist.

At the goal for the Bears have mostly been Justin Taillole on the year, who has 2 shutouts. Bears' other two keeper in Kevin Peach and Alex Mangels have also both had experiences not only this year but in the past years. Peach was the starter two years ago while Mangels was the starters at the end of last year, including the postseason run to the Elite Eight.

For UW, one of the 3 powerhouse team from the Pac-12 conference along with UCLA and Cal in men's college soccer these past two years (I'm ignoring Furd and their No.18 ranking...for now), their offense is lead by Darwin Jones with 5 goals and 4 assists. UW have two other players with 5 goals in Mason Robertson and Josh Heard (Pac-12 Player of the Week this past week, dethrone Cal's Hallisey who has won the two prior). Heard had the header winner from a Darwin Jones cross to down Portland in OT on UW's last match.

At the goal for the Huskies is redshirt senior in Spencer Richey who is 4-1 on the year with 2 shutouts.

Last year, the Bears and the Huskies played to a tie in Berkeley before the Huskies defeated a Steve Birnbaum-less Golden Bears team 2-1 in OT in Seattle. Huskies' head coach Jamie Clark actually sports a 4-0-2 all time record against the Bears and 11-0-2 all time against the Bay Area Pac-12 teams (for the Furd fan who may be reading that doesn't want to do the math, UW is 7-0-0 against Furd). UW holds the all-time edge at 25-17-9, but the Bears are on a mission to reverse these streaks.