The USF men’s soccer team is trying to bounce back from a 1-0 loss at Charlotte when it faces Cincinnati Saturday.
The Bulls were shut out for the first time this season, but the Bearcats have allowed 14 goals in their nine games.
“It will be a tough game,” Bulls coach George Kiefer said. “Cincinnati is a tough place to play. We know that they play very direct and try to win the second ball. They’re high pressure, but we’re going to deal with the different things they throw at us.”
Kiefer also noted that the Bearcats’ Meyers Field, at 65 yards, is much wider than the Bulls’ practice field.
The Bearcats are coming off consecutive losses on the road. Last year’s 4-2 loss to USF in Tampa is still fresh in Bearcats coach Hylton Dayes’ memory.
“We got beat,” Dayes said. “They just beat us all over the field. Obviously, they’re a very good team. We’re playing fairly well at home, but it’ll be a challenge. South Florida has a lot of firepower.”Kiefer, in his first year as the Bulls’ coach, said he was not concerned with last year’s game.
“How did we do?” he asked.
Freshman forward Hunter West leads the Bulls with nine goals and 18 points, and Wiremu Patrick leads the Bearcats with five goals and 12 points.
Nine different players have contributed to the Bulls’ 20 goals this season.
The Bulls are out-shooting their opponents 130-84 and lead the conference in shots.
“We’re going to have to defend better as a team,” Dayes said. “We need to try and prevent them from getting a lot of shots.”
The Bearcats also average more than 10 shots a game, indicating that Saturday’s game could become a high-scoring affair.
The two teams are tied for second behind Charlotte in Conference USA with 2-1-0 conference records. Overall, USF is 6-2-0 and Cincinnati is 4-4-0.
“There’s a lot of parity,” Dayes said, “so it’s really hard to predict anything. We hope our guys are up to the challenge.”
The only thing certain about Saturday’s matchup is the starting time.
“I predict it’ll start at 7,” Kiefer said.