Thierjung Does it Again for the Bears
SEATTLE – California (8-5-2, 3-3-2 Pac-12) won its third consecutive match and first on the road this season when the Bears defeated the Washington Huskies (6-4-5, 2-2-2 Pac-12) 1-0 on Friday night at Husky Soccer Stadium in Seattle. The reigning National Soccer Coaches Association of America National Player of the Week, Christian Thierjung lived up to that billing, scoring an 88th minute match-winner on an incredible individual run on a counter attack, finishing past Washington goalkeeper Ryan Herman to secure the three points for the Bears. Thierjung scored his eighth goal of the season and recorded his ninth point in his last three matches to lift Cal to the thrilling win in hostile territory. The goal ended a scoreless streak of 197:10 between the two sides in 2015, as the first leg of the season series ended in a double overtime 0-0 draw.
“I’m very proud of these guys and the way we all performed,” Thierjung said following the win. “We left it all out there on the field tonight and this is a great win for us. I feel like we came out physically and set the tone with them early; which you always have to when you come up here to play at Washington. This is a big away win for us and another win to help keep our playoff hopes alive.”
The Huskies nearly opened things up in the fifth minute of play, as senior forward Josh Heard got around the corner and served a teasing ball onto the edge of the six-yard box. Redshirt freshman midfielder Scott Menzies was making a hard-charging run, but was unable to get on the end of it for the Huskies.
Cal came back with arguably its best chance of the first half in the 12th minute on a scintillating counter attack. The ball found its way to redshirt sophomore midfielder Jose Carrera-Garcia, and his little chip into the area found junior Thierjung in stride, but his shot on the volley went wide of the Huskies’ goal.
Another key moment for Washington came through the same equation as its chance in the first moments of the match. Heard played another curling ball into the box, searching for the sliding Menzies in the 21st minute, but to no avail, he again could not quite reach it.
Cal freshman goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann made a big save in the 37th minute of play, when Huskies’ sophomore midfielder Henry Wingo took aim from just outside the edge of the area. His effort forced a quality save from Klinsmann, who helped keep the score level at 0-0 heading into the half.
Both sides created chances in the second half, but it was Thierjung who broke through late to snatch it for the Bears. Klinsmann made a huge save, punching the ball away from danger in the 87th minute, which started the Bears on the break. Freshman forward Samuel Ebstein played a ball forward for Thierjung at the top of the California box, and Thierjung did the rest. His field-length run took him into the Washington penalty area and his shot from a difficult angle went five-hole on Herman and into the bottom of the side netting at the far post for to give the Golden Bears the one-goal advantage.
“It started with a counter attack and Sam Ebstein played the ball over to me,” Thierjung added. “I was able to touch it past the defender and dribble the full length of the field. I knew I wanted to take the defender one-on-one and I am happy it went into the back of the net.”
Klinsmann stood tall again in the 90th minute, making a massive save to preserve the clean sheet, the first of his collegiate career, and the 1-0 win for the Bears. As the Huskies pushed for an equalizer at the death, Ian Lange headed on goal, but a tremendous reaction save by Klinsmann, his fourth on the evening, kept it out and the Bears held on for their third consecutive win.
The Golden Bears wrap up their Pacific Northwest trek when they take on Oregon State at 1:30 pm on Sunday, Nov. 1 in Corvallis, Oregon. That match will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks. Fans are encouraged to interact with @CalMensSoccer on Twitter and Instagram and CalMensSoccer on Facebook for the most up to date news and content.
Cal – 87:10 Thierjung, Christian (unassisted)
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