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Cal Men’s Soccer Grills Delaware Blue Hens 2-1, Returns to Winning Ways

Golden Bears recover from injuries and bounce back after a scoreless draw with U.C. Riverside Sunday

California sophomore Francisco Perez crosses the ball to freshman Alonzo Del Mundo Friday night
Midfielder Francisco Perez’s assist secured the game-winning goal against Delaware
Rob Edwards/KLC fotos via Cal Athletics

California forward Alonzo Del Mundo and midfielder Shinya Kadono silenced criticisms of inconsistency this season, notching one goal apiece against Delaware Friday night.

“I always look for Shinya because I know Shinya is going to put in that effort to beat his man,” Del Mundo said in a post-match interview.

The Golden Bears (4-1-1) rolled past the Blue Hens (1-4) in a 2-1 victory with a fantastic finish by Del Mundo in the 69th minute. Gifted with a low cross slotted inside the box by midfielder Francisco Perez, the redshirt-freshman scored the match-winning goal easily. The goal is Del Mundo’s second of the season.

“We were overall sharper today than we were on Sunday,” California Coach Kevin Grimes said after the match. “Today was a good step.”

Making a statement in the Golden Bears’ first televised match of the season, senior Kadono landed his sixth goal of the season with an unassisted shot from about 12 yards out in the 24th minute. Kadono leads the Pacific 12 Conference with 14 points. On Tuesday he was recognized as the Pac 12 Player of the Week and was also named to the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week.

Although Delaware had more set-piece opportunities with six corners to California’s two, the Blue Hens were unable to capitalize. The two sides finished the match with seven shots each.

A Better Game Ahead

California was eager to impress at home in Edwards Stadium. Playing without many of its usual starters, the Golden Bears were held to a 0-0 draw after two periods of “golden goal” overtime against U.C. Riverside.

“We’re continuing to do well with recovery of injuries and getting guys back in the lineup. I think we’re on the right path,” reflected Coach Grimes on his team roster.

Sophomores Christopher Grey and Tommy Williamson missed Sunday’s match with injuries.

California freshman defender JJ Foe Nuphaus also missed the match. Last year, Top Drawer Soccer ranked Nuphaus as the 39th-best player in the country, and this season, Nuphaus has started the first three matches and played in every minute. Nuphaus started in the Golden Bears’ victory Friday and again played 90 minutes.

Called up to the Under-19 U.S. Men’s National Team last week, Nuphaus missed the matchups against Sacramento State and U.C. Riverside to play in the 2018 U.S. Soccer U-20 Men’s Invitational in Bradenton, Fla. Nuphaus’ U-19 U.S. Men’s National Team defeated the Under-20 Jamaica Men’s National Team 4-1 on Tuesday.

“We had a little round-robin tournament with Jamaica, Venezuela and our U-20 team, and we ended up coming away with the whole trophy, so it was a good experience for me,” Nuphaus said in an interview posted to Twitter by Cal Athletics Wednesday. “With experiences like that, the level just seems to fire up a notch. Each year you come to a new camp, the level just seems to get better and better.”

The Golden Bears return to Edwards Stadium on Sunday (Sept. 16) at 2 p.m. to compete against the No. 15 River Hawks of UMass Lowell. The River Hawks lost 0-1 to Stanford on Friday—their first defeat of the season.

Will California make UMass Lowell’s weekend tour of the San Francisco Bay Area a nightmare this afternoon? Do you think the Golden Bears will win by a larger margin than the Cardinal?