The USF men’s soccer team continued their now five-game unbeaten streak with a 3-2 win over Temple at Corbett Stadium on a beautiful Friday evening.
The Bulls (5-5-2, 2-0-2 AAC) took the lead late in the first half off a rocket free kick from junior midfielder Alex Zis. Temple would cause drama however, with a perfect corner set piece in the 69th minute (not nice), then compound USF’s misery just minutes later in the 76th minute with a gorgeous look from distance.
A combination of Temple adjustments and USF playing too easy in the second half led the Bulls to give up a lead that they had earned during the first half of play.
“I think that Temple started to execute their gameplan,” said Coach Bob Butehorn after the game. “They started winning most of the second balls, they were playing really direct. That second goal they scored was really good. The first goal, that’s the second time this year we’ve let a ball slip through near post on a corner kick. We have a guy on the post for that reason. Gotta make sure that job is done and done well.”
It took a round of pinball for the Bulls to find the equalizing goal. In the 83rd minute, Zis took a free kick that got deflected into the box by the wall. After bouncing around off multiple heads, sophomore midfielder Emilio Ycaza was able to direct it into the net for his first career goal.
“I honestly believe they have something within the team that has a pretty good response to them,” said Butehorn about the equalizing goal. “I don’t like that they put themselves in holes, but they’re not afraid to dig themselves out of it. We just gotta do a little better job protecting the lead. I actually think, in the final 8-10 minutes, we were very good and I thought we were really good in the overtime. That was all us, and we deserve that one.”
The Bulls didn’t allow Temple a shot during overtime, and managed five of their own. Temple had one dangerous counter early in the period, but freshman defender Marcus Murphy put the fire out before a shot could be taken.
It was the 100th minute when USF found the winner. Zis whipped in a corner to find the head of senior striker Tomasz Skublak to send the Bulls to the top of the conference table, tied with UConn at 8 points each.
Next stop: Orlando, October 20, and a pivotal I-4 clash with an 8-2-2 C.