Sophomore delivers game-winner off the bench for Cal men’s soccer against Portland

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When the Cal mens soccer team (2-2) made the trip up to Portland this weekend, it had one priority above all others: Don’t get shut out again. In their first three games of the season, the Bears had already been shut out twice: once in their opener against West Virginia, and then again in the second game of a weekend doubleheader against Creighton — but in their fourth game, it wouldn’t happen again. A win was just the cherry on top.

What’s more, the Bears had taken a total of 39 shots in their first three outings, but they had scored just once in all those chances. The offense had been aggressive in all of those games, but it had only one win to show for it. And they were about to meet a team that has been on the winning side of high-scoring shutouts not once, but twice this season.

Things were not looking promising for the offense at halftime. Cal took six shots as well as three corner kicks in the first half, but it headed back to the locker room with nothing to show for it. The outcome seemed bleak and all too familiar; the Bears would outshoot their opponent and still walk away with a loss.

Portland scored early in the second half on a cross to take a 1-0 lead and put the Bears in position to get shut out once again. But junior midfielder Shinya Kadono had another idea. On a pass from senior midfielder Jose Carrera-Garcia, Kadono nailed a shot that tied the game back up just three minutes after Portland had gone ahead.

When Kadono scored that goal in the 51st minute, what he didn’t know was that the game was not yet halfway over. Thanks to a commendable save by sophomore goalie Drake Callender, the Pilots were denied the chance to score on a penalty kick in the 90th minute, sending the 1-1 knot into overtime.

The first 10-minute overtime period was a scoreless draw, and Cal was headed to another. The Bears had to score in those 10 minutes, or they would be leaving Portland with nothing but a mark in the tie column. It took just two minutes and 38 seconds of play in the second overtime for Cal to demonstrate that it would not accept a tie. Assisted once again by Carrera-Garcia as well as senior midfielder Ugo Rebecchini, sophomore forward Simon Lekressner hit the game-winner that would ultimately send the Bears home with a 2-2 season record. Lekressner had come in as a sub in the marathon game and needed just 39 minutes of playing time to seal the deal.

All the while, Callender racked up a career-high nine saves (including the one that sent the game into overtime) and put Portland on the losing side of Cal’s former dilemma. The Pilots outshot the Bears 18-14 but were still unable to come away with the win.

The 2 goals by Kadono and Lekressner were the first for each this season. Prior to Portland, junior forward Spencer Held had Cal’s only goal of the season.

It took two extra periods of play, but on a wet evening in the Pacific Northwest, Cal was able to turn the tables on its opponent and buck the trend of getting shut out.

Adriana Ghiozzi covers men’s soccer. Contact her at [email protected].