Cal Upsets No. 3 Georgetown, 2-0, in Opener
BERKELEY – Steve Birnbaum played in one game - and just 15 minutes - last season, but the defender returned as a fifth-year senior and capped California's season-opening, 2-0, upset win over third-ranked Georgetown on Friday with a second-half penalty kick. The Golden Bears got goals on either side of halftime, as junior midfielder Connor Hallisey scored from distance late in the first half on Goldman Field at Edwards Stadium.
The Bears opened 2013 with a 1-0-0 record, while Georgetown - the 2012 national runner-up - opened with a 0-1-0 record.
In the first half, Georgetown had plenty of possession early and took four shots in the first 12 minutes. But redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Justin Taillole made a save on the first shot – in his first regular-season game as a Golden Bear – and then junior midfielder Max Oldham posted Cal’s first shot, saved in the 20th minute, in his first start as a Bear.
The Bears collected their first goal of the season when Hallisey wove his way through midfield and blasted the ball into the Hoyas’ net from 25 yards out at 40:12 of the first half.
The Bears took that 1-0 lead into halftime.
They doubled that lead not long into the second half.
At 47:31, Cal junior forward Stefano Bonomo dribbled into the Georgetown box before a Hoya clattered into him to set up a penalty kick. Birnbaum – one of three Cal co-captains – calmly stepped to the spot and buried the ball in the back of the net.
That marked Birnbaum’s third-career goal and his first against a team other than Oregon State.
Georgetown posted just three more shots the rest of the game, and the last one – Gabe Padilla’s diving header in the 87th minute – was the Hoyas’ last best chance to avoid the shutout.
Taillole made three saves and GU goalie Tomas Gomez made four saves, and the teams tied on shots, 10-10.
Cal returns to action on Sunday, Sept. 1, when it plays No. 2 Maryland – the team that Georgetown beat to reach the 2012 national final – at 2 p.m. on Goldman Field.
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