Cal Falls To USC
LOS ANGELES – California women's soccer created opportunities on a hot day in Los Angeles, but the Bears were unable to convert and fell to No. 10 USC, 2-0, on Thursday afternoon at Soni McAlister Field.
After playing in a torrential downpour in their last game, Cal had a stark change as temperatures reached over 90 degrees. The teams took a hydration break during each half because of the conditions. However, the Bears fought gamely against USC.
Ayo Oke had the first good chance of the game. The freshman made a move to get on her right foot and fired a rocket across the face of the goal. The ball caromed off the post and back into play, unfortunate not to land in the back of the net.
USC took the lead in the 26th minute on a goal by Croix Bethune. The Trojans played a ball into the box, it bounced around the penalty area. Bethune was the quickest to the ball and toe-poked it into the side netting. That goal snapped a shutout streak of 338 consecutive minutes where Cal has held their opponents without a goal as they entered Thursday's matchup with three consecutive shutouts.
Hannah White scored a second goal for USC in the 34th minute as Zoe Burns sent a long ball down the left flank. White latched onto the end of the ball and slotted it in the back of the net off the breakaway.
Cal thought they had a goal in the opening minutes of the second half. Emma Westin dribbled past a couple of defenders to get into the box and then slipped a pass to Karlie Lema with the outside of her foot. Lema put the ball in the back of the net, but the goal was taken off the board as Lema was deemed offside.
In the 75th minute, Oke made a great individual move to get around her defender on the right flank. Oke got to the endline and played a tantalizing ball back through the middle. Anysa Gray and Alexis Wright both had opportunities, but neither could direct a shot on goal.
Six minutes later, Kaylee Nguyen received a ball in midfield and carried it into the attacking half. She slipped a ball to Westin, who was in on goal. Westin tried to slot the ball home, but USC's Anna Smith made a nice save to keep the Bears off the board.
The statistics show that USC outshot Cal 10-2, but the Bears created numerous opportunities throughout the game which didn't end up in shots. With the win, USC (10-2-2, 7-0-2) remains in first place in the Pac-12. The Bears (8-5-3, 4-4-1) currently sit in sixth place in the Pac-12.
The Bears will stay in Los Angeles and take on No. 5 UCLA on Sunday afternoon. The Halloween matchup will kick off at 2 p.m. and be broadcast on Pac-12 Bay Area and Pac-12 Los Angeles.