For the third time this season, the South Florida men’s soccer team lost. This loss, however, may decide USF’s postseason seeding.
In a match between conference heavyweights, USF fell to St. John’s 1-0 on Saturday, losing its grip on first place in the Big East Red Division.
The teams came into Saturday’s Big East showdown tied atop the division standings at 5-1-1.
The loss gives St. John’s a tiebreaker over USF. If the teams finish with the same record in the Big East, the Bulls will get the lower seed in the conference tournament.
The lone goal of the game came when St. John’s sophomore midfielder Tafadzwa Chiduku scored the game-winner in the 71st minute, giving the Red Storm a lead they did not relinquish.
Chiduku, who has scored in three straight games, gathered a long pass from midfielder Nelson Becerra inside the box and knocked it past goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.
It was the second goal allowed by Attinella and the Bulls in their last eight games. The other came during a loss at DePaul on Oct. 7.
Locked in a defensive struggle for most of the game, USF created a few opportunities late but couldn’t muster a goal.
The first half of the game yielded only one shot between the teams, but the tempo increased as the game progressed.
“I thought the team did well,” USF coach George Kiefer said. “We created a few chances for ourselves in the last 15 or so to get the game even. We were unlucky. There’s nothing you can do there.”
Kiefer said the team is a veteran group and will bounce back.
Kevon Neaves, Sebastien Thuriere and Javed Mohammed each had shots on goal for the Bulls in the second half but were stopped by goalkeeper Neal Kitson, who recorded his ninth shutout of the season.
St. John’s came into the game ranked No. 4 in the country and left with sole possession of first place in the Big East Red Division, with USF (8-3-2, 5-2-1) falling a game off the pace.
The Bulls were beaten for just the second time in their last ten games.
“We played pretty good,” sophomore defender Andre Mittoo said. “The loss wasn’t that bad. We need to put this behind us and keep the same mindset going into next week.”
The Bulls will look to get back on track when they host Florida Atlantic University on Tuesday before finishing the regular season with Big East games against Villanova, Cincinnati and Rutgers