USF soccer’s first penalty shot of the year gave it an early lead, but despite an emphasis on attacking play, its failure to add to that score resulted in a tie in Saturday’s conference match against Cincinnati.
The Bulls (3-4-2,0-2-1 in Conference USA), struggling to find a rhythm that will win them games, used Saturday’s game to debut a more aggressive style of play that USF coach George Kiefer said he would commit to before their next match.
“It was better, but we need to work on it,” Kiefer said. “We need to make better decisions on the ball.”
The aggressive style, which focused on the attack, proved ineffective for the Bulls who were out shot 15-11 and scored their only goal on a penalty kick. Senior J.R. Casadonte converted the PK after he was fouled deep in Bearcat territory late in the first half giving the Bulls a 1-0 lead going into the interval.
USF’s lead ended 12 minutes into the second half, when Cincinnati’s Tim Brown scored from a corner kick for his first goal of the season. After emphasizing the need to remain focused on restarts, Kiefer was understandably frustrated.
“Eighty percent of (our opponents’) goals this season has come off of restarts, and it is something we talk about in practice all the time,” Kiefer said. “Restarts are a break in the game, and players lose concentration; it is typical with a young team.”
Chances were rare for the rest of the half, and the two teams left regulation all knotted up.
It was a similar story in overtime; the Bulls managed just one shot in two overtimes, but their defense held off the Bearcats and their six shots, including three shots on goal, which were saved by Dane Brenner. Brenner, who recently obtained the permanent starting position, left the game with five saves and his coach’s confidence.
“I am very happy with Dane (Brenner),” Kiefer said. “He came up big late for us.”
Despite not winning, Kiefer was happy to get a point in conference play after experiencing only losses the past two weeks. Kiefer will stick with the play style exhibited in Saturday’s game and said that the strong offense that the Bulls played against Cincinnati is something he has been aiming for all season.