Last Friday, the Bears pulled off a second-half comeback and defeated the Pacific Tigers 2-1 in their final preseason game of the year. This win capped off an impressive 3-0 preseason for the blue and gold — now if only they could translate that winning play into the regular season.
The first half of the ball game was quite ordinary. The teams fought hard but no goals were ultimately scored before halftime. The second half, however, was a completely different story. It was as if the gates of soccer heaven opened and goals were being scored left and right — at least, between the 54th and 59th minutes.
All three goals in the game were scored within this time span. The Tigers opened the scoring with a shot by senior forward Samuel Saiz, putting them up 1-0. The Bears did not back down, coming back with more fervor and aggression which paid off just three minutes later with a strike by junior forward Nonso Adimabua. The 6’4” junior from Nigeria received a pass from senior midfielder Juan Martinez and put the ball in the back of the net. The game was tied.
After knotting the game at one goal apiece, Cal wasn’t done. They did not want to settle for a tie. Enter Evan Davila. The junior midfielder had been aggressive all game, leading the team in shots and shots on goal, and in the 59th minute, he got one to go. The Bears surged into the lead and completed the second-half comeback. That would be the last goal of the game as the score went final: 2-1 Bears.
This was an impressive victory for the Bears, even if it was just a preseason matchup. Pacific had bested the Bears in the season prior, but this time it was a different story. Some could say it was a revenge game for the blue and gold — the Bears did not let the memory of last year affect how they played in this game. Even when it seemed the victory was slipping away from them as the clock wound down, the squad showed fight and perseverance and got the dub.
This game highlights the ability for this team to come back after going down. It is a great skill for a team to have: the response after it gets down. If the Bears are able to complete these comebacks when they have fallen behind in games this season, it will do wonders for their record.
The Bears finished their three preseason matchups with three wins — a great feat. With all this being said, however, it is just the preseason. The real test begins later this week with the kickoff of the regular season. The blue and gold had a rough season last year, winning only three games the whole year. Hopefully, this strong showing in the preseason will give them the momentum and belief they need to open the regular season with a win.
The Bears begin their regular season this Thursday, Aug. 25, away from home with a match against Cal State Fullerton.