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Bay Area Derby: Cal Men’s Soccer fell 1-0 to Stanford in Pac-12 opener

Golden Bears kick off Pac-12 play with the away leg of the rivalry derby

Cal Men's Soccer Christian Thierjung
Senior striker Christian Thierjung is the Golden Bears’ leading scorer so far this year, with 8 goals.
Cal Men’s Soccer Facebook

California Golden Bears (4-2-1) at Stanford Cardinal (3-2-3)

When: 5 PM PT

Where: Cagan Stadium (Palo Alto, California)

TV: Pac-12 Networks (announcers: Mark Rogondino and Chris Sullivan)

From the Wikipedia entry on sports rivalries:

Games between two rivals of close geographical proximity are usually called a local derby, or simply just derby (UK: /ˈdɑːrbi/; DAR-bee or US: /ˈdɜːrbi/; DER-bee); a sporting fixture between two teams from the same town, city or region, particularly in association football.

It is time for the first leg of the 2016 “Bay Area Derby” - the annual home and home series between Cal Men’s Soccer and those lads from Leland Stanford Junior University on South Bay. [Note: Given more schools in the women’s soccer Pac-12, Cal and Stanford only face off once in the regular season there.]

Stanford leads the all-time match up 27-22-9, dating back to 1973; however, under head coach Kevin Grimes, Cal is 15-13-4 against the Cardinal.

After a fairly successful out-of-conference season, the Golden Bears will continue their strong bid to return to the NCAA postseason after missing out in 2015.

Bears have merely outscored their opponents 16 to 14 in 2016 with 2 victories coming via overtime. The latest match last week saw the Bears defeat then No.25 UC Santa Barbara via a 3-2 OT win on the road, thanks to a Golden Goal from Cal senior Christian Thierjung, who leads the team with 8 goals (5 of them came in one match against Harvard).

Fellow senior Nick Lima is 2nd on the Bears with 4 goals. Lima scored a brace (two goals) in the OT win over Penn State earlier this year.

Redshirt Junior Jose Carrera-Garcia leads the Bears with 4 assists to go with 2 goals. Carrera-Garcia scored a goal at Stanford two years ago. Junior Paul Salcedo-Borrego is another playmaker for the Bears, with 3 assists.

Defensively, the Bears are anchored by the 3rd senior captain in Trevor Haberkorn. Joshua Morton, Sam Junqua, and Jorge Miranda are the unsung starters for the Bears as well in the backline.

Between the pipes, Cal has depended on sophomore Jonathan Klinsmann for the most part, although freshman Drake Callender has also seen game action.

Klinsmann, son of German soccer legend and current USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, has recently been featured in an article from HERO sports.

"I couldn't be more happy with my teammates. We have so many different characters and personalities, but we are an extremely close knit team," Klinsmann said. "One of the moments that stood out with this team is when we hit a dry spell last year and lost a couple games in a row. We all came together one night and just discussed for hours what we needed to do. That next weekend we came out and beat SDSU and UCLA and started on our own winning streak."

The sophomore keeper has recorded 24 saves, one shutout and a 1.68 goals against average this season. He helped lead the team to a 3-2 overtime upset victory over UCSB just last week to lift the Golden Bears to a 4-2-1 record on the year.

"Our team goal is first to win the Pac-12 and then go on to win Cal’s first National Championship," Klinsmann stated. "Personally, I want to build upon a decent freshman year and continue to build my confidence and improve my play."

Both losses suffered by the Bears came on a tough Indiana trip when the Bears faced two top 5 teams in Indiana (a close 2-0 loss that was closer than the final margin) and Notre Dame (a 5-0 loss that coach Kevin Grimes regret scheduling given the lack of time to prep for both Indiana AND Notre Dame).

Coming off their first NCAA championship in Men’s Soccer, Stanford Cardinal has fallen back toward mediocrity after the graduation of Jordan Morris (who actually missed quite a few Stanford games over the past years due to his USMNT duties but still won the Herman trophy last year) among others. Ranked No.1 in the country in the preseason, Stanford has lost to Notre Dame and USF. Stanford also only managed to draw against Penn State, St. Mary’s, and Indiana.

Cal and Stanford have faced 6 mutual opponents on the year so far. Bears are 3-2-1 while Stanford is 2-1-3. Both teams should be pretty evenly matched.

Foster Langsdorf leads Stanford with 6 goals. Drew Skundrich has 3 goals after a position switch this year to midfield. Andrew Epstein, member of the College Cup All Tournament team, is their goalie.

It should be another tightly contested match between the two Bay Area rivals. Discuss this match in the comment section below.