Men’s soccer finally earned their first win of the season 2-0 vs the University of San Francisco Dons (USF vs. USF!) during a rare midday game on Saturday at Corbett Soccer Stadium.
The return of Lindo Mfeka and Ricardo Gomez to the Bulls (1-3-2) lineup shored up a midfield that had sorely missed them. After the Bulls wasted several good scoring chances, Mfeka came on as a sub and immediately had an impact, teaming up with Melvin Becket to earn an assist on a play that ended in a Bartman goal in the 24th minute.
With Gomez, Mfeka and Epps back in the lineup, the Bulls looked like a new team. They heavily outplayed the Dons in the first half before pulling back in the second half and protecting the lead. Even after the Bulls conceded a penalty, keeper Spasoje Stefanovic stepped up and kept the Dons off the board.
Stephen Rudderham made his first career contribution to the scoreboard, settling a long ball from Gabriel Pfeffer down the left line, and SOMEHOW scoring from one of the tightest angles I’ve ever seen.
The Bulls largely shut it down in the second half, allowing the Dons to get several excellent chances on net. However, Prosper Figbe, Gabriel Pfeffer and Spasoje Stefanovic all had excellent games, denying San Francisco over and over again. Later in the half, Marcus Epps began to truly shake the rust off and regain the elusiveness that makes him such a dangerous winger, splitting defenders and generally causing mayhem along the opposing back line.
The game ended with the Dons outshooting USF the Bulls 14-9, with five on frame to the Bulls’ three. Only one San Francisco player received a booking.
At the end of the day, the Bulls began to look like their former selves again, but there’s still a few mental blocks the team needs to overcome. The biggest thing right now is to convert the looks they get, because the conference will make you pay for missing opportunities that make the crowd groan. Defensively, the Bulls look good. Offensively, the creativity is returning. Things are looking up.
Coach Kiefer was proud of how his team bounced back after the game. “One of my favorite things about coaching and athletics is dealing with adversity and how do you get through it. How do you stay positive and not let it cripple you? In athletics you get to keep trying where in life sometimes it comes and knocks you to your knees, how do you get up? I still feel like we’re climbing out of some things and I’m very confident we’re going to climb out.”