DePaul (9-4) at USF (8-2-2)
When: Tonight, 7:30Where: USF Soccer StadiumTV/Radio: None
After beating Villanova on Friday, the men’s soccer team hosts DePaul in their second consecutive home match.
With a conference record of 3-2-1, the Bulls are tied for third in the division and are a single point ahead of the Blue Demons, who enter the game playing their fifth road match in their last six contests. Bulls coach George Kiefer doesn’t think that will affect Tuesday’s match, though.
“They’re one point behind us and they’re coming down to Florida to play a game,” Kiefer said. “I don’t really think how tough their schedule is will have any effect on how things turn out.”
The Bulls have been a tough team to beat at home this season with a record of 4-1 at USF soccer stadium. In their 3-0 victory Friday, the Bulls showed they have versatility, as three different players scored goals.
DePaul is a team that prides itself on its defense and has outscored its opponents 11-6 on the season. Goalkeeper Brian Visser has a school-record seven shutouts thus far, four of which came in the first four matches of the season.
The Blue Demons have the second best goals-against average in the Big East, which contrasts perfectly to the Bulls being second in the Big East in goals scored.
USF has been able to find the back of the net against these types of tough defensiveopponents this season. Villanova goalkeeper Jason Friel had only given up seven goals before the Bulls put three through his grasps.
“Playing a team like this is exciting for the whole team,” Kiefer said. “It’s an opportunity for us to exploit their weaknesses and show what we can do.”
USF will put an emphasis on winning the possession battle by trying to force the Blue Demons into weak counterattack opportunities. DePaul hasn’t been very effective finishing their chances as they have scored their 11 goals on 123 shots.
If the Blue Demons are going to pick up a conference road win, they’ll have to create a surplus of opportunities to break through a Bulls defense that has only allowed nine goals in 12 games.
“It’s late in the year,” Kiefer said. “For us it’s about being comfortable in our defensive system and attacking the way we want to attack. We’re just going to work hard and play within ourselves. That’s not going to change for too many teams.”