Men’s soccer drops first Big East match in close game to Syracuse

It finally happened.

The No. 22 men’s soccer team lost its first Big East game. Dropping a 1-0 game to Syracuse (5-5-2, 1-5-1 Big East) on Sunday, the loss moves the Bulls to second in the Big East Red Division standings, only two points behind No. 5 St. John’s (7-1-3, 5-0-2 Big East).

Coach George Kiefer knew it was inevitable.

“It just wasn’t our day to find the back of the net,” Kiefer said.

Syracuse midfielder James Goodwin’s early first-half goal proved to be the difference at Lampe Athletics Complex. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for USF, the longest under Kiefer’s tutelage.

Kiefer said that USF didn’t overlook the Orange, just that Syracuse really outplayed the Bulls.

“We’ve got game tape on them,” Kiefer said. “We saw their game against Connecticut where they lost 1-0. They were also unlucky against St. John’s. They have lost two games by one goal. We had those on tape, and we knew what type of team they were.

“Our focus was there. It was there in (Saturday) night’s training session and in today’s game, but we just gave up a goal 10 minutes in. You know, in soccer sometimes that’s all it takes.”

Syracuse scored in the ninth minute when Goodwin hit a shot from 10 yards out off an Isaac Collings free kick. It was Goodwin’s first goal of the season, and the 14th goalkeeper Dane Brenner – who had four saves on the game – has given up in 10 games.

The Bulls’ Jordan Seabrook, Jason Devenish and Sammy Castellanos led the Bulls with two shots each, though Kiefer doesn’t blame his players for the loss. He never would, but he knows why his team was shut out by the last-place team in the Big East’s Red Division.

“I give (the Orange) a lot of credit,” he said. “They did a real good job on the day. After they got their goal, they never really committed a lot of guys to their attack (on goal). They took a lot of (scoring opportunities) from us. They did a real good job on us today.”

Kiefer, however, feels his players did not perform like they could have.

“I think if we had to say, ‘How many of our guys had their best games today?’ I’d have to say not too many,” Kiefer said. “That’s a comforting scale because we didn’t play our best. But if everyone goes out and plays their best and you still lose the game, then you’ve got big problems.

“We had a couple guys who didn’t move the ball like they normally do, and I expect them to be back on Wednesday (against DePaul).”