Green and Gold fans crowded Negoesco stadium to watch one of the biggest matches of the season against the No. 7 California Golden Bears (4-1-0) as part of the Bay Area Classic. Despite their efforts, the No. 18 Dons (2-2-0) suffered their second consecutive loss of the season.
The match started off with a bang for Cal as several players had scoring opportunities in the first five minutes of the match. Cal’s midfielder Davis Paul scored the first goal of the night in the 13th minute after a questionable non-offside call from the officials.
USF saw this goal as a chance to retaliate and executed a fantastic counterattack. USF’s junior forward, Bryan Burke, beat Cal’s tightly packed defense and attempted to score a goal. Burke shot from the corner of the box as USF fans stood to their feet to watch. He missed the goal by inches sending the ball too wide.
USF continued to struggle in the defensive and offensive areas while Cal’s units remained tight and organized. Due to a USF foul in the 21st minute inside the penalty area, Cal defender, A.J. Soares, was able to score another goal bringing Cal to a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Determined to score in the second half, the USF offense started strong only to lose possession quickly to Cal. In the 49th minute a Cal corner kick found its way to defender A.J. Soares who blasted a shot into the back of the net bringing the score to 3-0. Despite the three goals on Cal’s part, USF goalkeeper Brendan Roslund was able to save a record five shots for the match including a fantastic save in the 30th minute.
Senior Conor Chinn excited many USF fans in the 55th minute as he took a shot from the center of the box. The ball went wide and ended up in the side of the net, disappointing all who thought it was a sure goal.
Although USF was able to take 11 shots against Cal, none of them found the way to the back of the net. Senior forward Jonathon Levi paved the way for the Dons with 4 four shots with only one of them on target. Sophomore midfielder, Victor Wennberg added three to the total, while senior forward Conor Chinn and junior forward Bryan Burke added a shot apiece for USF.
After the match, Head Coach Erik Visser commented, “this is the best Cal team that I’ve seen in 10 years. They played with a lot of confidence and a lot of rhythm. Yes I’m disappointed but Cal was the better team tonight. Their execution was fantastic. I was pleased with the team that we continued to fight and did not give up. Hopefully we learn from our mistakes and prepare for our match at Stanford.”
The USF Dons will continue to play in the Bay Area Classic when they travel to Stanford Sunday night. The match is set for 7:00 PM at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.