Bulls face Michigan in first road test
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 02:09
When USF welcomed the Michigan Wolverines to Corbett Stadium last season, the Bulls were ranked fifth in the nation and won the match 2-1 in front of a record crowd of 3,076.
Down 1-0 in the 64th minute of action, USF’s Brenton Griffiths netted the game-tying goal.
A minute later, Ben Sweat added another goal that would turn out to be the game winner.
After the match, USF coach George Kiefer said “the energy of the crowd injected into the team” when the score was tied and he “felt the next goal coming soon,” as it did.
But this time, the advantage of a home crowd goes to Michigan, who had over 1,300 in attendance in their season opener.
The Bulls hit the road for the first time this season to face off with Michigan at 8 p.m. Friday night, each with 1-0-1 record.
USF will have to deal with Wolverine senior midfielder Fabio Pereira, who is ranked as the No. 10 collegiate player by TopDrawerSoccer.com and is approaching Michigan career records in assists and shots attempted.
A strong Michigan midfield could be diminished by the loss of Wolverine co-captain and 2012 All-Big Ten midfielder Tyler Arnone due to a straight red card received Monday.
The Wolverines are carried at the forward position by sophomore James Murphy, who earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors and leads Michigan with five points and four shots on goal.
USF is currently in a time-sharing situation at goalkeeper, with senior Brentton Muhammed and junior Dallas Jaye splitting time at 90 and 110 minutes respectively so far this season.
It’s unclear which goalkeeper will get the start on Friday night, but after Muhammed’s shut out of Stetson on Monday, Kiefer commended Muhammed’s constant communication with his defensive teammates.
USF will need a strong effort from their midfielders to combat the Wolverines’ strength at the position.
Friday’s contest is the first of two consecutive matches against Big Ten opponents as they welcome the Wisconsin Badgers to Corbett Stadium next week.