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Cal Men's Soccer loses heartbreaker in 3-2 in double OT to Stanford, your Pac-12 champs

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It's the home leg of the Bay Area Derby (somehow lacking a name that start with the word "Big") and the final match of the regular season. Can the Bears beat Furd to gain some momentum before the NCAA's and kick off Big Game week in style?

Bears closes the 2014 regular season against Bay Area rival Stanfurd Cardinal.
Bears closes the 2014 regular season against Bay Area rival Stanfurd Cardinal.
Ruey Yen

Welp, that sucks. A splendid Cal Men's Soccer senior class got their Senior Day spoiled by the visiting Stanfurd Cardinal. The Golden Bears lost via a Furd Golden Goal in the 2nd OT after fighting back twice to equalize the match in regulation. With this victory, Furd wins the Pac-12 conference title.

Bears will find out whether they earn a NCAA seed and/or have to play in the NCAA 1st round on Monday morning at 10 AM PT.

I for one, would love to meet Furd in the postseason and end their season.

GOAL ON YOU BEARS!

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No.15 Cal Men's Soccer (10-5-1, 4-4-1) vs. No.3 Stanfurd Cardinal (12-2-3, 5-1-3)

When: 1 pm PT

TV: Pac-12 Networks

It's Senior Day in Berkeley this afternoon, as the Golden Bears honor some key members of their recent national prominent squads before taking on those Stanfurd Cardinal for Pac-12 title pride and NCAA tournament seeding position.

Why does this match matter?

1. Duh, it's Cal vs. Stanfurd

In case you have not seen the rest of our blog, there is a BIG game of American Football that is coming up in 6 days. Before that battle on the grid-iron, there is a Futbol match slightly further west in Edward Stadium this afternoon.

2. Stanfurd is playing for the Pac-12 title

I really really wanted us to be in this position but a couple of setbacks last week ruined that. Instead, the Bears will play the role of the spoilers.

pac-12 men's soccer table

Teams Pts Conf Overall
STANFORD 18 5-1-3 12-2-3
UCLA 17 5-2-2 10-4-4
WASHINGTON 16 5-3-1 12-4-1
CALIFORNIA 13 4-4-1 10-5-1
OREGON STATE 10 3-5-1 10-7-1
SAN DIEGO STATE 3 1-8-0 7-11-0

3. Cal is playing for a better NCAA seed

Despite dropping to 15th in the coaches' poll, the Bears are still 12th in the RPI (Rating Percentage Index). What is more importantly, Stanfurd is an opponent that is ranked 3rd in human poll and 2nd in RPI. A big win at home today should affirm a top 16 seed (which means a 1st round bye).

4. Bears got to regain the home mojo before the postseason.

Prior to last week, the Bears are a perfect 6-0-0. Of course, the 6-2-0 record right now is still looking good, but the Bears could use some momentum from a big win today to both snap the two match losing streak, but also regain some of that homefield mystique for a team that is expected to host possibly a couple or more home matches this post season.

5. Cal has a chance to win a season series against Furd in a Fall Sports

Bears have fall on the wrong side of the win ledger in the Big Spike, Big Splash, and Field Hockey this year. It is time to right the ship. The Bears and Furd played to a 1-1 draw in the away leg of the Bay Area Derby. Even if there is no trophy (or Axe) in play for the winner, the Bears can claim this year's derby with a win outright.

6. Send the Seniors out in style

Given the success of the program in these past two years, the Bears have some very accomplished seniors on this year's squad.

Stefano Bonomo, Connor Hallisey, and Seth Casiple has been mainstay for the Bears for these last two years. Omid Jalali has had some big goals. Then there is goalie Justin Taillole, who we will get to next.

Career Stats

GP-GS       Shots    Goals   Assts. Pts
BONOMO    64-41        96         21        6         48

CASIPLE     72-71        84         6          26       38
HALLISEY   69-52        100       11        18       40
JALALI         57-5          48         10        3         23
OLDHAM     50-21        34         3          9         15
SEKINE       48-23        4           0          0           0
SERRANO  55-38        10         0          4           4

GP-GS       Min             W-L-T        SO
PEACH       26-25        2366:48      9-13-4         5

TAILOLLE   31-30        2656:00      21-6-3         9

Keys to the match

1. How healthy are the Bears, particular redshirt senior goalie Justin Taillole?

The last time that these two teams matched up, Cal goalie Justin Taillole made a career best (and possibly program best, if such record were kept) 12 saves. Unfortunately, Taillole got hurt early in the Washington match last Sunday and was last seen on crutches on the sideline.

Losing Taillole for this match and the postseason run would be a tough blow for the Bears, even if they have experienced this just last year. Alex Mangels, who will likely be the starter for the Bears if Taillole can't go, filled in for the Bears for the postseason run. Still, you would have to fill for Taillole if he again has to miss postseason play.

In addition to Taillole, freshman strike Paul Salcedo who has a few game winners on the season was also hurt last Sunday. While the Bears have more offensive weapons to replace him, you can never have too many striker/playmaker.

2. Keep the offensive machine going. #Drop5 goals!!!

Golden Bears are still leading the country in goals scored with 2.62 goals per game. Against 'Furd last time, the Bears struck first 4 minutes in before being shutout for the rest of the 106 minutes, including the two OT's. Cal plays a fairly open style that is very entertaining (and fun for the players). They will look for chances to push the ball at every opportunities.

Bears have scored 42 goals on the year from 11 different players with 14 different players having tallied an assist. There are plenty of speed and skills all over the pitch on the California side.

GOAL ON YOU BEARS!

3. Keep Stanfurd's Zach Bateer and Jordan Morris in check.

Stanfurd actually lead the Pac in number of shots per game. I'm not sure how much of that is the cause or the effect of them having an insane 35 shots against the Bears in that match down at The Farm earlier. Nevertheless, the Bears got to keep the two Cardinal strikers in check.

Bateer got the late equalizer last time and has had way too many late game winner against the Bears in recent years.

In the previous match, one of the key defensive back for the Bears in transfer Trevor Haberkorn had to miss a significantly amount of the match after suffering a bleeding gash on his forehead. With both Haberkorn and freshman Josh Morton at full strength, maybe 'Furd would get a more reasonable amount of shot attempts only in this one.

Update: Jordan Morris might actually miss this match due to US National Team training duty

4. Home crowd needs to let the team feel the love

We've got to show those visiting Furds that BERKELEY IS BEAR TERRITORY!

GO BEARS!