The USF men’s soccer team will travel to Memphis Saturday to participate in what will be its third road match in eight days.
“Memphis is a tough team on the road or at home,” USF coach George Kiefer said. “(Going on the road) is taxing, but at least this time the guys have had a full week of classes.”
USF’s schedule has featured challenging road games, including four nationally ranked teams and a current four-match road stint. The last time USF played at home was Oct. 18, and the next time the Bulls see their home field again will be Nov. 9.
The numerous away-match obstacles the Bulls have faced this season has made their road record 2-4-1, but victories and ties over ranked teams and conference rivals have given Kiefer faith in his young players.
“I think the guys are starting to show a lot of character,” Kiefer said. “I think we will be prepared for what Memphis throws at us.”
The 7-7-1 Tigers will be utilizing an aggressive offense against the Bulls, one that is No. 4 in goals and shots per game in Conference USA. Kiefer has been preparing his players all week for what they might see on Saturday.
“A lot of time was used imitating Memphis’ team and their style,” Kiefer said. “We tried to imitate them as best we could.”
Key matches last weekend have put USF back in the conference tournament hunt, something which the rest of the conference did not think would happen, Kiefer said. Despite once again having the opportunity to attend the C-USA tournament, Kiefer said that his team did not talk much about it during practice this week.
“(We did not talk about it) much at all,” Kiefer said. “The whole focus has been on taking it one game at a time.”
The Bulls will have their standout player Hunter West with them Saturday, even though he is in a nine-game scoring drought. Despite the fact that West is leading the team in goals following a blazing start after summer surgery, the sophomore has not seen the back of the net in more than a month.
“Hunter looks great,” Kiefer said. “He looks like he is getting his legs back.”
Throughout the drought, West has been critical of himself, according to Kiefer.
“He is tough on himself,” Kiefer said. “Tougher than any coach can be.”