The USF men’s soccer team suffered their first loss in conference play Friday night, falling to UConn 2-0.
Corbett was packed with fans to celebrate USF’s Soctoberfest, with Oktoberfest-style beer, bratwurst, and Lederhosen t-shirts. However, the festive spirit was quickly doused when UConn took the lead inside four minutes. Huskies forward Josh Burnett forced a turnover on USF’s back line and put away the one-on-one against USF keeper Christian Knight. In the 8th minute, UConn’s Abdou Mbacke Thiam produced a near carbon copy of the first goal, leaving the USF defense looking for answers.
It took almost 15 minutes before USF really got going into the game. But by then, the Huskies were digging in, content to defend their two-goal lead. USF had a few looks on net in the first half, but nothing overly close. It was a generally even affair on the pitch, though UConn definitely had the edge.
“We just did not match their intensity. They came out pretty aggressive. They were fired up,” said Coach Bob Butehorn after the game.
The second half was littered with chances for the Bulls, but it was one of those nights where nothing was going. Tomasz Skublak couldn’t make the connection from two feet out, a free kick from Ricardo Gomez rocketed off the crossbar, and a gorgeous scorpion kick (a midair volley kicked forward over the player’s head) from Bradley Farias was spectacularly tipped over the bar by an off-balance Scott Levene in the UConn net.
Beautiful shot by @usfmsoc! @uconnmsoc's Levene punches the shot away ⚽ pic.twitter.com/iPyFT4D3N8— American MSoccer (@American_MSoc) October 14, 2017
The Bulls were left frustrated after launching 18 total shots, twice that of UConn, but having nothing to show for it.
Coach Butehorn commented after the game about the two defensive breakdowns that fed into the UConn game plan: “We knew the team would sit in against us, we knew the game was all about counters, and we just played into their hands.”
However, he also knew that it was just one of those nights for the offense. Said Butehorn, “I’m not goingto dwell on the fact that we lost because the ball just didn’t end up in the net today. We had the chances, we’re going to have more of those and those guys know that. I think we just go about the same mentality, get ourselves prepared.”
The Bulls are now 6-4-1 on the season, and 3-1 in The American. They are back in action at Corbett on Tuesday vs FIU before traveling to Memphis to resume conference play on October 21.