Following a rather difficult run on the road — one that saw two losses and a tie — the Cal men’s soccer team has returned home for a match against its neighbors across the Bay: the University of San Francisco Dons.
The history between the Bears and the Dons dates back to 2005 and since then the blue and gold have maintained a hefty advantage over San Francisco with a record of 6-2-1. More importantly, Cal boasts a strong non-conference record at home of 3-1-1, with their only home loss being against UCLA.
The Dons on the other hand have shown a strong performance on foreign terrain with a 2-1 record. Fortunately for the Bears, USF is currently on a three game losing streak, winless since September against Sacramento State.
Cal’s history with USF is more intricate than its list of previous matches. The Bears’ current head coach, Leonard Griffin, held his first head coach position for the Dons back in 2019. The last time there was a matchup between Cal and San Francisco — one that saw Griffin donning green and yellow as well as a 2-0 Cal victory.
The blue and gold are coming off of a 0-1 loss to No.1 Washington. However, fans should be glad to hear that the result of the game should hardly be cause for concern given the fact that not only were the Bears up against the best-ranked team in the NCAA, but they also debuted freshman goalkeeper Marco Brougher, who played for the full 90 minutes.
Offensively, Cal has had a harder time finding opportunities compared to its opponents. Over the past three games, the Bears have averaged 6.33 shots compared to 21.33 shots on average by its counterparts.
With this in mind, USF has had an overall strong offensive showing throughout the season, with an average of 19 shots per game compared to its opponents’ 10.
However, in their past three games, the Dons shooting accuracy has faltered with their shots on goal percentage falling just over 22 percent compared to their overall season average of 36.3 percent. To put this in perspective, the Bears are boasting a shots on goal percentage of 31.6 percent, giving Cal the upper hand for accuracy.
On the defensive side, the two teams are fairly even with the Dons holding a slight advantage over the Bears. Despite both teams having an overall 38 saves this season, Cal goalkeeper Collin Travasos currently holds a 1.31 GAA (goals against average) in comparison to San Francisco’s goalkeeper, Eric Waltz, who has a GAA of .91.
This will be Cal’s only game before returning to the Pac-12, as it is scheduled to go head-to-head with UCLA again, this time in Southern California. This being said, this is a great opportunity for the Bears to regain confidence, and practice created more solid offensive opportunities. Despite USF’s intimidating record on the road, the combination of Cal’s dominating home performance — along with its advantageous offense — with the Dons’ recent disappointing playing put the Bears in a more than sufficient position to take the victory at Edwards Stadium this Saturday at 1 p.m.