It all looked set in stone.
USF had the game in its hands, and the score was in its favor by two goals.
At least until the 77th minute, when the Bulls’ lead was cut in half. And 90 seconds later, when they lost it entirely.
That’s where the score stayed for the next 31 minutes.
Despite holding a two-goal lead the majority of the match, USF men’s soccer (8-4-1, 2-2 AAC) settled for a 2-2 draw after double overtime against No. 24 FIU (9-0-5, 4-0-1 C-USA) on Tuesday at Corbett Stadium.
For senior forward Adrian Billhardt, who scored his first official goal this season, the draw against the Panthers felt bittersweet.
“It’s a tough result. I think we deserved a little bit more today, ” Billhardt said.
Billhardt’s goal was his first official one of the season, as the NCAA did not officially recognize his goal against Tulsa on Oct. 5 after a weather delay forced the match to be abandoned in the eyes of the NCAA, even though it was completed for AAC purposes Oct. 14.
Despite scoring for the first time since his freshman year, Billhardt would have rather won the match.
“It’s definitely a relief off my shoulders,” Billhardt said. “Today it worked and I’m happy for that, but I … would have traded that for a win today.”
Billhardt’s goal came in the 62rd minute off a free kick. An initial foul on junior midfielder Diego Guerrero set the free kick up on the edge of the box.
Billhardt stepped up and slammed the ball in the top right corner, adding to freshman forward Victor Claudel’s opener in the 28th minute.
With the score 2-0 and less than 30 minutes on the clock, USF looked likely to hold its lead and seal the win.
But the match was far from over, according to Billhardt.
“You saw how quick things changed,” Billhardt said.
In the 77th minute, FIU striker Andoni Garrogerricaechebarria scored the Panthers’ first of the match. Nicholas O’Callaghan struck 90 seconds later, and the score was level.
“In football, five minutes can change a whole game,” senior goalkeeper Harrison Devenish-Meares said. “It’s about making sure you’re keyed in for the whole 90 minutes.”
Devenish-Meares made his first appearance in two matches after being out with illness. Despite conceding twice, he made five saves including a penalty in the 75th minute.
In the time it took FIU to tie the score, the Bulls couldn’t effectively clear the ball away, according to Devenish-Meares.
“We couldn’t quite clear the ball away in those five minutes, and in the end, it was an odd cross with the first one and a corner for the second one,” Devenish-Meares said. “I couldn’t stop them, unfortunately.”
Coach Bob Butehorn said his team needs to clean up defensively. He stressed the importance of being sharper and more clinical. But Butehorn also saw an exhausted goalkeeper.
“I saw a tired Harry, who was sick for the past week,” Butehorn said. “I saw a guy that gave us everything he had and he maybe just didn’t see the game as sharp.
“I don’t blame him, but I say he’s a guy who would have taken care of both of them.”