The USF men’s soccer team once again lost to a nationally ranked team, falling to a single goal from Florida International University in the waning minutes of regulation Saturday at the USF Soccer Stadium.
USF (4-6-2) and No. 10 FIU (8-2-2) played between the 30-yard marks for the majority of the match, as the game remained scoreless until the 87th minute. With thoughts turning to overtime, FIU junior Bobby Boswell found himself alone at the top of the box where he put the ball past Bulls goalkeeper Dane Brenner to give the Panthers the win.
Each team had close calls early in the game, but neither could capitalize on the attempts. In the 13th minute, the Panthers almost scored an own goal when Allen Handy came in to the box to clear the ball but wound up kicking it toward his own goal instead. Panther keeper Roy Rosenberg was quick to act, however, and stopped the Bulls from getting on the board. Rosenberg finished the night with four saves.
USF was also in danger of going behind early when Brenner, who had six saves in the match, emerged from the goal to clear a free ball in the 19th minute. Brenner’s kick bounced off FIU’s Carron Williams and wound up going over Brenner’s head back toward the goal, but USF’s Kareem Smith was able to stop the ball from rolling in with only inches to spare.
Saturday’s game marks the fifth time that USF has played a nationally ranked opponent this season. The Bulls have managed to defeat two of those teams, Furman and UAB, which was ranked 5th at the time of the match, but have dropped three, including losses to Saint Louis and Clemson.
The match is also the second shutout for the Bulls this season; the first came against Michigan when the Wolverines beat USF 2-0 Sept. 21. Not only did USF as a team get shut out, but sophomore Hunter West is in the midst of experiencing his own shutout; the USF standout’s scoring drought is now at seven games.