The Bears took the field at Edwards Stadium against the Washington Huskies on Sunday in an epic Pac-12 showdown.
Having suffered a defeat and a draw in the last two games, Cal looked to strengthen its position in the Pac-12 picture after disappointing results. Nonetheless, the second place Huskies proved to be too hot for the Bears to handle despite the latter’s home advantage.
Cal fought till the very end in a close game against a highly talented opponent. Both teams started out very strong as they battled it out in the first half of the game, seeming like the game could go either way. Despite the Huskies’ offensive efforts, goalkeeper Marco Brougher provided two crucial saves that kept the Bears in the game.
The second half saw Washington’s considerable improvement in its offensive strategy. With better passing accuracy and more possession of the ball, the Huskies were finally able to break the deadlock and take a 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute. Washington defender Mani Diop provided the goal for the Huskies when he scored a difficult shot from inside the box that struck the bottom right corner of the goal.
As the clock ticked down, the Bears found themselves unable to find the back of the net. The game ended with the final score of 1-0 as Washington defeated Cal in the blue and gold’s home stadium.
For many watching the game, it was evident that the Bears’ defeat did not stem from its lack of offensive efforts. Rather, it was due to the shortcomings in execution and Cal’s ability to finish in front of goal.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed with the result,” commented head coach Leonard Griffin. “We had a lot of great opportunities to score in the game but the execution wasn’t there.”
As the only Cal player who played the entire 90 minutes of the game, junior defender Kevin Carmichael also voiced his disappointment with the result despite the Bears’ perseverance on the defensive end.
“I honestly think we are a great team this year and we have really great potential,” said Carmichael. “But we do need to improve on our execution to win more games.”
As the stats from the game show, Cal lacked the necessary finishing touches that could have given the team the victory if corrected. Of all eight shots taken by the Bears, not a single one was on target.
Cal will have plenty of time to improve on its techniques and strategies for the upcoming game against San Diego State on Sept. 28. This much-needed 10-day break will provide the Bears with time for both recovery and more training.
“I’m always confident in our group,” Griffin stated. “I’m very excited for our next road game in San Diego, and we’ll take the long break to improve on our finishing touches.”
Senior Evan Davila also looked forward to this resting period as he hopes it will give all the players a time to reflect on their performance thus far this season and prepare mentally for the upcoming matches.
“All of (the Bears) are looking forward to this one week and a half break,” Davila said. “We’ll use this rare opportunity to rest and recover but also train hard for the upcoming road game in San Diego.”
As things currently stand, it seems as if the Bears’ momentum is slowing down at a rapid pace. Cal is currently in fourth place in the Pac-12, right behind its fierce rival Stanford. With only one point earned thus far in the standings, the Bears will have to get into gear if they intend to climb up the rankings.
A hibernating period, like this next week and a half, could give Cal its necessary adjustment to bounce back.