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Cal Returns to Pac-12 Play, Hosts SDSU and UCLA

Oct 29, 2013

BERKELEY – No. 1 California returns to Pac-12 play this week as it hosts San Diego State on Friday afternoon and concludes its four-game homestand when it plays No. 3 UCLA on Sunday on Goldman Field at Edwards Stadium. The Golden Bears bring a 10-1-2 record (4-0-1 in the Pac-12) into their match with the 5-8-1 (2-4-1 in the Pac-12) Aztecs on Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. after falling for the first time in 2013, 1-0 to San Diego, on Oct. 25 at Goldman. Cal then hosts the third ranked UCLA Bruins, who are 8-3-4 (3-1-3 in the Pac-12) this season on Sunday afternoon on the Pac-12 Network at 1 p.m.

The Bears defeated San Diego State 2-1 on the road in comeback fashion back on Oct. 10 thanks to a late winner scored by freshman midfielder Christian Thierjung in the 80th minute. On the second half of their Southern California road trip, Cal stunned the Bruins with a thrilling 3-2 win, when senior forward Stefano Bonomo scored a golden goal just 32 seconds into the first overtime.

Broadcast NewsChristian Miles (play-by-play) and Kelly Gray (analyst) are the announcers for Cal’s match vs. No. 3 UCLA. Cal will appear a total of nine times on the Pac-12 Networks, including three more times after Sunday’s game. The Bears’ next televised match is on Nov. 8 at Oregon State.

Following the GamesFans can keep track of Cal home games by following live stats and by following the team on Twitter @CalMensSoccer. Each game’s live stats link will appear on the team’s schedule on the day of the game.

Poll PositionCal is ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA, Soccer America and polls, while ranking third in the Top Drawer Soccer poll this week.

UCLA ranks as high as second in the Top Drawer Soccer poll, is third in the NSCAA and Soccer America polls and comes in at No. 6 in the rankings.

Scouting the Bears

  • Senior defender Steve Birnbaum tallied his Pac-12 leading eighth goal of the season when he scored in the 86th minute of Cal’s 1-0 win over Stanford on Oct. 20 in Berkeley; his eight goals tie him for 27th-most nationally
  • Birnbaum ranks second in the conference with 17 points, ranks first in goals-per-game at 0.62 and is tied for the lead in points-per-game at 1.31; nationally, he is tied for 48th in points, tied for 37th in points-per-game and ranks 24th in goals-per-game
  • Redshirt junior goalkeeper Justin Taillole, who made three saves against the San Diego Toreros, is a conference-best in goals-against-average at 0.67 and ranks second in save percentage at .804, after the San Diego game
  • Taillole is tied for the second-most shutouts in the Pac-12 with four
  • Nationally, Taillole ranks 18th in GAA and ranks 46th in save percentage
  • Senior midfielder Ryan Neil and junior midfielder Seth Casiple are tied for the team high in assists (4)
  • Senior midfielder Alec Sundly paces the Bears and is tied for the Pac-12 high in game winning goals (3)
  • As a team, Cal tops the Pac-12 in GAA (0.73) and goals allowed (10)
  • Cal’s co-captains are Birnbaum, Sundly and Casiple
  • Kevin Grimes is in his 14th season as head coach at Cal; the former SMU All-American (class of 1990) claimed five Pac-10 Coach of the Year awards (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010) before the conference became the Pac-12 in 2011
  • Against ranked opponents, Grimes has a 40-37-16 all-time record at Cal; his record vs. ranked foes is 3-0-1 in 2013

Scouting the Aztecs

  • SDSU defeated Oregon State, 2-0, on Oct. 27 at home
  • Senior forward Abraham Villion leads the Aztecs in assists (5), which is tied for fifth in the Pac-12, points (17), which has him tied for second in the conference in points with Cal defender Steve Birnbaum, and ranks second on the team in goals (6)
  • Senior forward Jordan Ongaro, who scored the team’s second goal vs. the Beavers, leads the team in goals (8) and ranks second in points (17)
  • Senior midfielders Blake Wise ranks third on the team in assists (3)
  • Senior goalkeeper Blake Hylen, has compiled a 1.74 GAA and .681 save percentage in 13 appearances
  • Sophomore goalkeeper John Marcuzzo recorded a shutout victory in his first start of the season against the Beavers last weekend.
  • A veteran team, San Diego State features ten seniors
  • Lev Kirshner is in his 14th season as SDSU’s head coach

Scouting the Bruins

  • UCLA has gone 5-1-3 in their last nine games, with the only loss coming at the hands of the Bears
  • Senior midfielder Victor Chavez leads UCLA in goals (7) in 15 games played, which has him tied for third in the conference and leads the Pac-12 in points (18)
  • Junior midfielder Leo Stolz leads UCLA in assists (6) and game winning goals (3), while ranking second in goals scored (5) and points (16)
  • Stolz has also converted both of the Bruins’ penalty kicks this season
  • Junior keeper Earl Edwards has posted a 1.19 goals-against-average and .708 save percentage after playing every minute in goal
  • Former Bruin All-American Jorge Salcedo (UCLA ’02) is in his 10th year as head coach at his alma mater

Next TimeCal finishes its regular season with three consecutive road games, with a pair in the Pacific Northwest kicking off next week. They travel to Corvallis to take on the Oregon State Beavers on Nov. 8 and to Seattle to battle the No. 4 Washington Huskies on Nov. 10. The match against the Beavers will air on the Pac-12 Networks, while the game in Seattle will be broadcast locally on Pac-12 Bay Area.

Around the Pac-12This past week, all six Pac-12 men’s soccer teams were in action, as a pair of schools fell from the unbeaten ranks in Cal and Washington. 

Cal - Lost to San Diego 1-0 on Friday, Oct. 25 in Berkeley and fell to 10-1-2 overall (4-0-1 in Pac-12)

Oregon StateTied UCLA 1-1 on Friday, Oct. 25 in Los Angeles

         Lost to San Diego State 2-0 on Sunday, Oct. 27 in San Diego and fell to 7-7-2 (0-5-2 in Pac-12)

San Diego State - Lost to Washington 2-0 on Friday, Oct. 25 at home

         Defeated Oregon State 2-0 on Sunday, Oct. 27 at home and improved to 5-8-1 (2-4-1 in Pac-12)

Stanford - Defeated San Francisco 2-1 in overtime on Friday, Oct. 12 at home to improve to 7-4-2 (1-3-1 in Pac-12)

UCLA - Tied Oregon State 1-1 on Friday, Oct. 25 at home

         Defeated Washington 2-1 on Sunday, Oct. 27 at home to improve to 8-3-4 (3-1-3 in Pac-12)

Washington - Defeated San Diego State 2-0 in San Diego on Friday, Oct. 25

         Lost to UCLA 2-1 on Sunday, Oct. 27 in Los Angeles to fall to 11-1-4 (4-1-2 in Pac-12)

Bears in the ProsCal is one of the most prolific producers of professional soccer players among college programs in the nation. Currently there are 16 former Golden Bears playing in the pro ranks, including 12 playing in Major League Soccer: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Calen Carr (Houston Dynamo), Servando Carrasco (Houston Dynamo), Stefan Frei (Toronto FC), Andrew Jacobson (FC Dallas), Hector Jimenez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eric Kronberg (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Purdy (Chivas USA), Josh Saunders (Real Salt Lake), A.J. Soares (New England Revolution), Tyson Wahl (Columbus Crew) and Andrew Wiedeman (Toronto FC). Three Bears – Anthony Avalos (SK Vard Haugesund, Norway First Division), Leo Krupnik (Maccabi Netanya, Israeli Premier League) and Jacob Wilson (Vasas SC, Hungary First Division) – play abroad, and Troy Roberts (Rochester Rhinos) plays in the USL Pro League.

Bears in the MLS Cup PlayoffsOf the 12 former Cal Bears in Major League Soccer, six will be available to participate in the MLS Cup Playoffs with their clubs. Forward Calen Carr and midfielder Serrando Carrasco of the Houston Dynamo grabbed the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and they are pitted against the Montreal Impact in a knockout match on Thursday, Oct. 31 at 5:30 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Network. Former Golden Bear defender A.J. Soares’ New England Revolution returned to the postseason for the first time since the 2008 campaign. They earned the Eastern Conference’s third seed and will host former Cal goalkeeper Eric Kronberg’s Sporting Kansas City side in the first leg of the conference semifinal on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Network. Midfielder Hector Jimenez’s defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy earned the Western Conference’s third seed and will host the first leg of the conference semifinal when they battle the second seeded Real Salt Lake and former Bears goalkeeper Josh Saunders on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. PT on ESPN.