SAN FRANCISCO – With the clock ticking away and the match looking all the world like it was headed for overtime, Christian Thierjung scored the first goal of his young career with 19 seconds left in regulation to give No. 4/10 California a 1-0 win over San Francisco on Thursday night at Negoesco Stadium. The Golden Bears improved to 3-0-0 after the nonconference win, while the host Dons (2-1-0) suffered their first loss of the season.
Junior forward Stefano Bonomo assisted Thierjung, a freshman midfielder/forward, on the goal.
Tonight’s match continued a trend of close games in the series between the teams; they tied, 0-0, in 2012, and Cal won 1-0 both in 2011 and in 2010.
“Tonight’s game looked like it was heading to overtime, but we had great combination play at the top of the box, and Christian scored a fantastic goal to give us the win,” Cal head coach Kevin Grimes said.
“For a young player, Christian has great composure,” Grimes added. “He’s extremely intelligent in decision making. He has a lot of good qualities and plays like someone beyond his years. For him to finish like he did at the end of the game – in the most demanding moment – that really showed his quality.”
Cal outshot the Dons, 12-10, including an 8-4 advantage in the second half, when USF goalkeeper Chase Hauser made all six of his saves. USF outshot Cal 6-4 in the first half, when sophomore goalie Justin Taillole made three of his five saves for the Bears.
Taillole made his final save at 88:54 on David Garrett’s effort for the Dons.
A second consecutive overtime match loomed for Cal – which beat then-No. 2 Maryland, 3-2, in OT on Sept. 1 – until one of the youngest Bears decided matters.
“The first half I thought USF played really well and had us under some pressure,” Grimes said. “We needed to defend our way out of the half, and I thought we did that. In the second half I thought we got our rhythm and played really well in the last 30 minutes, and we tucked one away at the end.”
Cal has now shut out USF in seven straight games and outscored the Dons over that span 11-0. The last time the Bears allowed a goal to their San Francisco Bay Area rival was in 2007.
The Bears next play at Penn State on Sept. 13 in University Park, Pa.