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Golden Bears a Head above the Rest, Beat Detroit Mercy 2-1

Cal outshoot Detroit Mercy Titans 11-3 in a physical game

Cal men’s soccer team huddles on field before a match
Cal edges Detroit Mercy Titans to win season opener
Cal Men’s Soccer Twitter

Senior Sam Ebstein scored the first goal of Cal men’s soccer regular season to land a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Mercy Titans Friday night.

Scored in the 63rd minute, Ebstein converted a stellar cross from team captain Shinya Kadono with a well-placed header. In a game where many eyes were on the Golden Bears’ three true freshmen’s first starts, the seniors showed their leadership by breaking the one-all stalemate.

The Golden Bears found their rhythm outshooting the Titans 6-2 after halftime. During the break, Cal Coach Kevin Grimes urged his players to “attack more [and] be more aggressive in the attacking third,” Kadono said in a California Golden Blogs exclusive post-match interview.

“That’s what we did,” the team captain added, referring to his decisive assist.

A physical game

Typical for collegiate soccer, physical play marked Friday night’s match with both sides notching a combined 16 fouls including a direct red card for Titan forward Jake Reitzloff.

Detroit Mercy capitalized on a Golden Bear foul in the first half to secure the match’s first score. Titan midfielder Daniel Iyok converted a penalty kick in the 23rd minute with a low shot to goalkeeper Drake Callender’s left.

Cal put the frustrated home crowd at ease by equalizing just 11 minutes later with an own goal from a Titan defender. While goalkeeper Devin Mendez did well to parry the initial shot quickly, he could not stop the Golden Bears’ perseverance and follow-up shot, which ricocheted off the post and an unfortunate defender like a pinball.

The Golden Bears frustrated the Titans by passing the ball around and controlling possession for most of the second half. “These guys are doing nothing. We need a goal!” a staff member from the Detroit Mercy sideline shouted during the match.

But their needed goal never arrived even after ten substitutions in the second half.

“That’s what we should expect,” Kadono said plainly after the match.

Cal faces off against the Incarnate Word Cardinals this afternoon at 2 p.m. Do you think we will see a score from freshman forward Alonzo Del Mundo, or will the seniors continue to shine?