If a soccer match was 70 minutes long, the Cal men’s soccer team would’ve been proud of its performance against Stanford. Unfortunately, the game is a full 90 minutes and the final 20 for Cal on Thursday night was something it would maybe want to forget.
Cal put up a good fight in the first half against the 9th-ranked Cardinal; Stanford applied the pressure throughout the half, but Cal’s defense sustained each wave of attack.
The Bears also had a few chances of their own but nothing really threatening.
Much of the half was Stanford controlling the possession battle, with not a ton of real opportunities for either side. Heading into the locker room, the game was tied 0-0 with 45 minutes to play.
“I feel like we matched their intensity pretty well, and matched their transition-style soccer, it was a close back and forth,” said junior Wyatt Meyer.
The second half was much more interesting than the first.
Cal came out of the locker room guns blazing. In the first half, Stanford was the one applying the pressure and controlling possession. In the first ten minutes of the second half, however, it looked as if Cal was the ranked team, as it had Stanford on its heels.
“We got 45 minutes left, let’s play and try and score a goal right off the bat, we need to come out firing on all cylinders,” Meyer said.
The blue and gold had a few good chances in those first ten minutes and looked to be in control, but ultimately, it was the Cardinal who ended up striking first. In the 63nd minute, Stanford was able to sneak behind Cal’s defense to open the scoring. Cal responded shortly after with a goal by Fahmi Ibrahim in the 66th minute. The senior forward tapped the ball just past Stanford’s keeper after a cross in from the left side.
And just like that, it was 1-1.
With 24 minutes left, it was a brand new game as the two teams were knotted at 1. That score did not last long, though, as Stanford was able to net another goal in the 70th minute to go up 2-1.
This time, once the Cardinal went up, it did not look back.
In the 75th minute, Cal forward Nonso Adimabua was ejected from the match after receiving his second yellow card. The 6’4 junior had done well throughout the game putting pressure on Stanford’s defense and not having that presence up front really hurt the blue and gold. From here, it all began to unravel for the Bears.
Down a man, it was difficult for Cal to keep its bitter rivals at bay. Stanford poured on 3 more goals in the final 15 minutes of play to take down the blue and gold by a score of 5-1.
The final score does not reflect how the game was actually played.
Cal battled for 75 minutes as it challenged its rivals. In the end, the Bears let it slip away after the red card dealt to Adimabua, but the squad showed grit for the majority of the game.
Stanford moves to 6-0-3 on the season, remaining unbeaten while the blue and gold move to 3-3-3 with a little less than half the season remaining. Cal will head up north this upcoming weekend for two more conference matches against Oregon State and Washington.