SEATTLE – It’s been a special season for Washington men’s soccer, but Sunday’s 2-1 overtime win over No. 4 California might have been best of all. In front of the packed bleachers at the Husky Soccer Stadium and a supportive alumni group that was still in town from Friday’s celebration, the Dawgs prevailed in dramatic fashion to take the lead in the Pac-12 standings.
With the band, the atmosphere, and everything, it was the right sort of feel for this game,” said head coach Jamie Clark. “Unfortunately we went down a goal. Sometimes if you go down a goal when you don't deserve to be down a goal, you can hang your head. Our guys didn't hang our heads for a second and that's a very good Cal team. That’s a top-five team, and they really ran us around at our place. Today, we deserved to win.”
Mason Robertson hammered home a goal just 37 seconds into the overtime period after a Michael Harris flip throw ricocheted off a defender and found the freshman. The goal was the fourth of the season for the dynamic forward who was immediately tackled by his teammates as they celebrated the win.
Robertson’s goal completed the Husky comeback, despite Washington dominating play throughout. Cal scored in the first half and led 1-0 at halftime, but UW equalized in the 67th minute before winning in overtime.
The win vaults Washington into first place by themselves, one points better than Cal and two better than UCLA. The Dawgs close the season at Oregon State, while Cal has Stanford and UCLA has San Diego State. A win would clinch the first Washington Pac-12 title since 2000.
The Dawgs outshot Cal, 28-9, for the game, but found themselves trailing at halftime after Alec Sundly headed home a goal off a corner kick. Washington had its chances in the half, including a breakaway opportunity from Brad Jacobson after he forced a turnover in the back.
The Dawgs tied it on a header from Cristian Roldan, his sixth goal of the season and fourth he’s scored with his head. Justin Schmidt used a nifty bit of skill to get the play started on the right wing, flicking the ball behind his leg down the wing where received it and sent the cross into the box. Roldan nodded home the header with both Harris and Schmidt credited with assists.
Washington kept up the pressure as it pressed for the game-winner, but it would not happen in regulation. Darwin Jones hit his second post of the game with a blast from a tough angle, but the game would go to overtime, despite 17 shots in the half from the Dawgs.
In overtime, Robertson’s goal came off aflip-throw. Harris tossed one in the box from the left sideline that deflected off a Cal defender that Robertson pounced on and blasted past the goalkeeper.
Ryan Herman made five saves for the Dawgs, including a pair of the spectacular variety in the second half to keep the Dawgs tied.
Washington closes at 11 a.m. in Corvallis next Sunday. The formula is simple, if the Dawgs win - they are the Pac-12 champions.