soccer player!cal always looking in the stands to make sure you hadn’t left your familiar place in the front row and always being able to hear your loud yelling whenever he scored or stole from another player
Berkeley - For the first time in its 107-year history, California claimed the No. 1 ranking in all three major polls this week, as Soccer America magazine, Soccer Times and TopDrawerSoccer.com moved the Golden Bears to the top spot. Cal is undefeated at 5-0-1 and will enter conference play October 3 against Oregon State.
In addition, Steve Birnbaum earned a spot on the CollegeSoccerNews.com Team of the Week for the second time this season, after his strong play in two wins at home. The defender scored his fourth goal of the year in 3-0 win over Colgate on Sept. 20 and netted his fifth goal of the year in a 3-1 win over the College of Charleston on Sept. 22. The Cal co-captain also marshaled a stingy defense that allowed just one goal over those two games.
Coach Kevin Grimes (now in his 14th season as head coach at Cal) says this may be his best team ever. Grimes has already claimed five Conference Coach of the Year awards (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010) and has an outstanding 144-87-34 record with the Bears.
Stefano Bonomo’s fifth goal of the year beat UCLA and kept the Bears undefeated.
Bonomo’s Golden Goal Leads No. 1 Cal Past UCLA
Los Angeles - Top-ranked California is finding out just how strong the Pac-12 Conference has grown this season. With four out of the six conference teams ranked in the NSCAA poll and currently three ranked in the top six, the Pac-12 has become one of the toughest conferences in the nation.
Third-ranked Washington proved its worth when the Golden Bears and Huskies tied, 1-1, after two overtimes on Oct. 6 in Berkeley. Including that game, Cal had never trailed in a match in 2013 – until the Bears played at San Diego State on Oct. 10. Down 1-0, the Bears rallied to score two late and capture a 2-1 victory.
“The conference has had a real good season overall, and all six teams are playing really well,” Cal head coach Kevin Grimes said. “All of them have the ability to have a good season this year, and that makes the games all that more enjoyable. All the teams we play are competitive.”
Then came the UCLA game on Sunday at Drake Stadium. The Bruins – ranked fifth by Soccer America – gave Cal arguably its sternest test to date. After never trailing in a game until the SDSU match, Cal never led against the Bruins – until the end. That’s when junior forward Stefano Bonomo stuck a golden goal past UCLA goalkeeper Earl Edwards in the 91st minute to give the Bears a 3-2, come-from-behind, overtime win.
“It was a great game,” Grimes said. “Both teams played very well today. You can’t ask for anything more than that: Playing in a match that was highly contest, with both teams giving everything they had. We took our chance early in overtime, and we’re pleased with the goal we scored in getting the victory.”
Cal had trailed 1-0, as Victor Chavez scored on a header at 12:41. But junior defender Christian Dean curved a free kick past Edwards to knot the game at 1-1. The Bears then trailed 2-1 on Jordon Vale’s header at 41:29, and the Bruins took the 2-1 lead into halftime.
Some 30 minutes into the second half, Cal still trailed 2-1 when the Bears earned a corner kick. The referee awarded a penalty kick to the Bears after appeared to handle the ensuing corner in the box. Senior defender Steve Birnbaum calmly converted the spot kick at 75:13 to tie the game at 2-2 with his team-high seventh goal of the year.
Still tied at 2-2 after regulation, Cal prepared for its fifth overtime match of the season. At 90:32, senior forward Luis Fuentes and junior midfielder Connor Hallisey combined well on the flank, Hallisey crossed into the UCLA box, and Bonomo slammed his fifth goal of the year past Edwards.
“I was wide open and just finished it,” Bonomo said.