Men’s soccer team prepares for final game

With the Conference USA tournament around the corner, the USF men’s soccer team will wrap up a very productive season Saturday. C-USA foe Louisville (5-9-4, 2-5-1 C-USA) will show up a little angry to USF Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m.

On Wednesday night, Louisville’ loss to UAB (10-5, 6-2 C-USA) eliminated them from tournament contention, while the Bulls secured their own berth to the postseason by beating East Carolina 4-1.

But USF (9-4-2, 4-3-1 C-USA) won’t forget that the season is not quite finished yet, as the Cardinals still pose a threat to the Bulls. USF can climb to rank as high as the fourth seed in the tournament with a win over Louisville, which would gain the Bulls 16 conference points and give USF a three-way tie with St. Louis (8-7-1,5-3-1 C-USA) and Cincinnati (7-8-2, 5-2-1 C-USA) in the tournament playoff tree.

USF coach George Kiefer wants his team to realize that Louisville will still pose a challenge at the end of the season.

“Louisville is a very tough team,” Kiefer said. “I read (Louisville head coach Tony Colavecchia’s) comments after the game, and right after (Louisville) lost to UAB he was talking about our match. He was hoping his guys have class and show up. He’s a good coach. He’s going to have them motivated to play.”

Colavecchia said on the official Web site for the University of Louisville Athletics that he was upset with the way his team’s season ended and mentioned the Bulls as his team’s new focus to complete this season on a good note.

“It was a very controversial way to end the season,” said Colavecchia. “The call cost us a place in the Conference USA Tournament. I am proud of this team, the way they played tonight. Our seniors really represented well and just played their hearts out. I hope they can respond with a lot of class and intensity against South Florida on Saturday evening.”

The controversial call was an intentional handball in Wednesday’s game against UAB. Blazer forward Sandi Gbandi put away the penalty kick with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

Kiefer doesn’t want to rely on conference teams to help his team but also won’t turn down the help. Kiefer’s real concern is not putting pressure on his team for the second half of the season and telling his players to just worry about one game at a time.

“We all met as a group after the Marquette game and we were all unhappy,” Kiefer said. “We said we never wanted to play a match like that again and that we’re going to go down swinging and keep attacking and going forward and trying to score goals. We’re never going to play in fear. We’re going to try to win games.

“It’s a must win game (against Louisville). And the focus is on how we want to defend, how quickly we want to attack and everyone being accountable.”