Not much to say about this one other than that Stanford jumped out to a two goal lead with about 15 minutes in and never looked back, winning 3-0. Stanford (9-2, 3-0 in Pac-12) has now won 6 straight against the Bears. At least this one wasn’t as heart breaking as the OT loss to the Cardinal last year.
Bears (7-3, 2-1 in Pac-12) will look to start another winning streak when they host Oregon State on Thursday night.
With 6 straight wins, including 2 on the road to open Pac-12 play, California Golden Bears Men’s Soccer (7-2) should be quite confident going into this Sunday’s pivotal Pac-12 match against rival Stanford Cardinal. Coming off a weekend where they swept the SoCal Pac-12 schools (UCLA and San Diego State), both squads are ranked in the coaches’ poll in the top 25 with the Golden Bears moving into the rankings for the first time in the season at No.24 and Stanford moving into the top 10 at No.8. Stanford is coming off their 2nd straight NCAA championship last fall (and the 2nd one in program history). Thus far in 2017, Stanford has shown to be vulnerable, suffering losses to Tulsa and St. Louis in non-conference play.
About the Golden Bears:
Golden Bears have rebounded from a poor 2016 season where they were constantly edged by a goal. Thus far in 2017, Bears have been the one that have done just enough to win by a goal (6 of their 7 wins on the year is by just one goal).
Cal 2, UCLA 0
Bears opened Pac-12 play last Thursday with a dominant 2-0 road win at UCLA. Samuel Ebstein and Shinya Kadono tallied goals for the Bears. Drake Callender was superb inside the goal for the Bears to earn his 3rd clean sheet of the year.
Cal 1, SDSU 0
Shinya Kadono again was the scoring hero for the Bears, tallying the game winner with mere 11 seconds left in regulation (there is no stoppage time in college soccer). Kadono, team leader now with 5 goals on the year, scored off the post on a set piece ball from senior captain Ugo Rebecchini. Callender made 4 saves for his 4th clean sheet of the season.
For his two key goals last week, Shinya Kadono was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week.
Leading the Bears in points are junior Kadono (5 goals) and redshirt senior Jose Carrera-Garcia (2 goals, team high 5 assists). Paul Salcedo-Borrega is 2nd on the team with 3 goals (all scored against Santa Clara when he had a hat trick). Other Bears to tally goals in 2017 are Sam Ebstein (1 goal, 3 assists), Simon Lekressner (1 goal, 1 assist), and Spencer Held (1 goal).
Defensively, the Bears have gotten great work from Drake Callender in his first full year as the starting goalie. In front of Callender, Bears have experienced defenders in Ugo Rebecchini and Joshua Morton as well as redshirt freshman in David Burns (3rd on the team in minutes behind the two co-captains in Rebecchini and Carrera-Garcia).
For the two Pac-12 matches, this was the Cal starting lineup:
Here are your starters for the night... pic.twitter.com/4byLdCo5Qs— Cal Men's Soccer (@CalMSoc) September 29, 2017
Christopher Grey is another freshman defender who has earned his way onto the starting lineup recently. Freshman Francisco Perez started in place of Lekressner against SDSU. Bears appear to be using a 4 (defenders)-3 (midfielders)-3 (forwards) formation. As a team, the Bears outshot their opponents 105 to 96, which is fairly even.
After winning the 2015 NCAA championship behind current MLS and USMNT star Jordan Morris, Stanford found a way to win a 2nd NCAA title with their defense, not allowing any goals in their entire playoff run. Senior Foster Langsdorf is again the leading Cardinal goal scorer with 8 on the year. 8 other Cardinal players have found the back of the net thus far. Stanford out shot their opponents 159 to 83 on the year.
Redshirt senior Nico Corti is the starting goalkeeper for the visitors from The Farm. This is the first year that Corti gets to start on a regular basis.
Head coach Jeremy Gunn is in his 6th year at Stanford. Gunn took Charlotte to the NCAA championship match in 2011 before moving to The Farm.
Stanford had little issue at SDSU, beating the Aztecs via a 5-0 score. Against UCLA, Stanford edged the Bruins by 1-0. Drew Skundrich scored on a header in the 33rd minute for the lone score. Corti only had to make 2 saves to beat UCLA.
Cal vs. Stanford:
Bears were edged in both matches against Stanford in 2016: a 0-1 loss at the Farm and then a season ending 1-2 (OT) loss at home. It should be another close match on Sunday. The key for the Bears would be to create quality chances to test Stanford goalkeeper Corti, who has been the benefactor of another great Stanford defense. I would expect the seniors combo of Rebecchini and Morton to keep the Stanford senior Langsdorf in check. The match will probably come down to if the Bears can keep the rest of the Cardinal in check.
My (unscientific) prediction: 2-1 Cal in OT. Bears has the edge due to the home crowd.
It is time for the Bears to return the favor after this happened last year (no, I don’t know why Foster Langsdorf is wearing a sports bra):
No.24 California Golden Bears (7-2, 2-0 in Pac-12) vs. No.8 Stanford Cardinal (8-2 , 2-0 in Pac-12)
Where: Edwards Stadium (Berkeley, CA)
When: 3 PM PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!