All things must come to an end and that is true too for the Cal men’s soccer team this weekend as it concludes its season against rival Stanford. The Bears, currently sitting at 3-7-6, will have one last chance to salvage one more win after a tough season.
With a new coach, fresh talent and eager veterans looking to prove they are able to compete against the top talent in the conference and the country, it was a bit of a disappointing season for the three-win squad. On Saturday, they will go out there one final time in Edwards Stadium to try and end this season on a positive note and get revenge against the red bloods from Palo Alto.
“No better way to close out a season against a team we despise so much, we’re pumped,” goalkeeper Collin Travasos said.
Cal is coming off of two noteworthy performances against some of the Pac-12’s best in Oregon State and no. 1 ranked Washington. The Oregon State game ended in a tie while Washington just barely squeaked by with a win in the final moments. Both games, however, could have been much worse if the Bears just mailed it in at the end of the season. They fought, however, and ended up with two decisions — though not wins — they can be proud of.
The final game of the season is not going to be any easier for the blue and gold as they face their rival. The home crowd will be on the Bears’ side this time as they try to will them to a victory. The Cardinal is sitting as the No. 5 team nationally and are coming off a 7-0 rout against the University of the Pacific. They are looking to do the exact same thing against the Bears and further build their case as one of the nation’s top teams before the end of season tournament.
Last time in Palo Alto, the match was knotted at 1 in with around 20 minutes to play before it spiraled out of control for the Bears and Stanford took the match 5-1. This time, hopefully the blue and gold can keep their composure and humble the no. 5-ranked Cardinal.
“(We need to finish) our chances, that’s something that they do well is when they do get a good look they do well with it, so not squandering the few looks we’re gonna get and just taking advantage of that will be key,” Travasos said.
The Bears are last in conference rankings and nowhere near being tournament eligible, but a win on Saturday could go a long way for the morale of the team moving forward and the outlook they have on this season. Though it was a fairly disappointing season, they did have some good moments. Last year, they finished with a record of 3-9-3, and now as they sit at 3-7-6 they hope to add one more to the win column to surpass last year’s total.
Cal was in a lot of close games this season that ultimately did not go its way; its record does not completely show the amount of fight this team had nor the challenge other teams faced when playing against them. The Pac-12 is a challenging conference with four of the six teams within it likely making the championship tournament at the end of the regular season.
Cal has one more opportunity to show out in front of its home crowd on Saturday as it closes out the 2022 season against Stanford.