In-state duels open men’s soccer season

The USF men’s soccer team faces off against FIU at home tonight at 7:30 in the season opener. The Golden Panthers enter Conference USA this season, filling in one of the gaps left by the departure of USF, Louisville and Cincinnati, which all moved to the Big East.

This will be the fifth consecutive season in which these two teams face one another. Bulls coach George Kiefer earned his first career victory over FIU last season with a 2-1 win on Oct. 3, a game in which sophomore forward Rodrigo Hidalgo scored the winning goal.

The Bulls, however, haven’t played FIU at home since 2003, when the Golden Panthers defeated the Bulls 1-0. USF seeks to reclaim bragging rights at the USF Soccer Stadium with a win, as the Bulls are down a game in the overall record with FIU 10-11-3.

Senior forward Carron Williams led FIU in scoring last season with eight goals en route to an 11-7 record in the Atlantic Soccer Conference. Williams’ exceptional talent will keep the Bulls defense and junior goalkeeper Dane Brenner on high alert throughout the game.

In Sunday’s game, the Jacksonville men’s soccer team comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. game against USF. The Dolphins return six starters from last year’s team and look to improve upon last season’s 8-8-1 record. The Bulls need to shutdown Jacksonville forward Tommy Krizanovic, who lead the team with 13 goals last season and was selected for the 2004 All-Atlantic Sun first team. However, the Bulls have the advantage in the overall series with the Dolphins, with a 32-8-2 record over a 40-year period.