Thursday, Sept. 5
7 p.m. PT – No. 4/10 Cal (2-0-0) vs. San Francisco (2-0-0)
Negoesco Stadium – San Francisco
Series Record vs. San Francisco: 15-21-3
Last Time vs. San Francisco: T, 0-0 (2OT), 9/16/12 in Berkeley
BERKELEY – After surging into all the major men’s soccer national rankings, California (2-0-0) prepares to face long-time local rival San Francisco on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. at USF’s Negoesco Stadium. The Golden Bears are ranked as high as No. 4 in the Soccer America poll and claimed a No. 10 ranking in the NSCAA poll, after knocking off then-No. 3 Georgetown, 2-0, and then-No. 2 Maryland, 3-2, in overtime to open the season. USF is unranked.
Cal has a 15-21-3 record in the all-time series with the Dons. The teams tied, 0-0, in double overtime last season on Goldman Field at Edwards Stadium.
Birnbaum Collects Kudos
National soccer watchers also took notice of the performances of Cal fifth-year senior Steve Birnbaum in the first two matches, as the Pac-12 Conference and Top Drawer Soccer named him their Player of the Week and College Soccer News named him to its national Team of the Week. The Cal co-captain scored in both matches, converting a penalty kick against Georgetown, scoring the first goal against Maryland and assisting on Alec Sundly’s golden goal against Maryland. Those marked the defender’s third- and fourth-career goals and his first goals against teams other than Oregon State.
Here are Cal’s various rankings so far this week: No. 4 (Soccer America), No. 5 (College Soccer News), No. 10 (NSCAA) and No. 12 (Top Drawer Soccer). Soccer Times had not released this week’s poll as of press time.
Cal will play a total of six games against teams currently ranked in the NSCAA’s Sept. 3 poll. Besides the games against Georgetown and Maryland, the Bears will play the following ranked teams: No. 6 UCLA (Oct. 13 in Los Angeles, Nov. 3 in Berkeley) and No. 19 Washington (Oct. 6 in Berkeley, Nov. 10 in Seattle).
Scouting the Golden Bears
- Steve Birnbaum leads Cal in points (5) and goals (20
- Junior midfielder Seth Casiple leads Cal in assists (2)
- After playing in the first two games of his career – and shutting out Georgetown – redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Justin Taillole has compiled a 0.97 goals-against average
- Redshirt freshman defender Mason Case earned the first point of his career – an assist against Maryland
- Cal’s co-captains are Birnbaum, Casiple and senior midfielder Alec Sundly
- 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
The Pac-12 Networks will broadcast a total of nine Cal games – including five home matches – this season. Cal’s next match on Pac-12 television is the Oct. 6 clash with conference foe Washington in Berkeley.
Scouting the Dons
- Playing at home, USF beat LIU-Brooklyn, 2-0, in its Aug. 30 season opener and likewise blanked Air Force, 2-0, on Sept. 1
- The Cal game is the Dons’ third match of a four-game homestand
- Senior midfielder Mauricio Diaz De Leon leads USF in points (3 from 1 goal and 1 assist)
- USF played different goalies in its first two games, and both have 0.00 GAAs after the shutouts: junior Chase Hauser – a transfer from Cal Poly – made two saves against LIU-Brooklyn, while redshirt freshman Connor Gaal made five saves against Air Force
- Former Bear Michael Shaddock (1 assist) is a senior forward for the Dons
- Erik Visser is in his 14th season as USF’s head coach
Cal plays at Penn State on Sept. 13 in University Park, Pa.