No. 5 Stanford (11-2-5, 4-2-4 Pac-12) eked out a 1-0 win against the Golden Bears (3-8-6, 1-6-3 Pac-12) to end their regular season on a high note.
The Cardinal took their second Big Clasico win of the year on Saturday afternoon, as Cal ended its season on a nine-game winless streak, dating back to the last meeting between the two teams on Sept. 29. It wasn’t as clear-cut as that 5-1 beatdown, but Stanford got the job done thanks to some stout defense and a wondergoal from senior midfielder Cam Cilley.
The Cardinal dominated the match early but weren’t able to break through with any real chances. But in the 17th minute, redshirt freshman midfielder Shane de Flores delivered a throw-in into the box that rebounded to the edge of the area, finding Cilley waiting. He took his chance beautifully, striking the ball into the top left corner and leaving the goalkeeper watching.
It was Cilley’s fifth goal of the season, a remarkable number considering he hadn’t scored for Stanford before this year.
Stanford continued to put pressure on the Golden Bears’ defense throughout the first period, maintaining possession in the opposing half and delivering balls into the box.
But the Cardinal weren’t clinical in front of goal, taking a total of 11 shots (five on target) without scoring again. As the game wore on, Cal began to take the initiative, forcing redshirt senior goalkeeper Matt Frank into two saves by the end of the half.
The Golden Bears continued where they left off in the second half, stringing together their own dangerous possessions while almost completely neutralizing the Stanford offense. The Cardinal didn’t take a single shot on goal in the period, struggling to keep the ball in Cal territory. But as the offense faltered, the defense stood strong, not allowing Cal to finish its moves cleanly and holding them to only one shot on goal, saved easily by Frank.
The last few minutes of the match tested the nerves of the Cardinal, but in the end they came out victorious, riding their one-goal lead to the finish line. This match marked the end of a successful regular season for the Cardinal, who are looking to capture the national championship for the first time since 2017.