USF (7-1-1) at Louisville (5-4)When: Saturday, 7 p.m. Where: Cardinal ParkTV/Radio: None
Men’s soccer will spend another weekend away from home as the team travels to Louisville on Saturday to face its first Red Division opponent.
The Cardinals (5-4, 2-2) come into the match a point behind the Bulls (7-1-1, 2-1-1) in the division standings.
For USF, it’s the third match of four in a row away from home. With the team coming off two double overtime matches last weekend, fitness may become a concern for the Bulls.
Louisville has outscored its opponents 16-8 this season, but it has a 5-4 overall record. When the Cardinals score, they do it often. They’ve scored four goals per game in three matches this season. Each time they’ve lost it’s been by one goal, and they’ve outshot their opponents 135-76.
Defensively, the Cardinals have been a tough unit to get past. They’ve had three shutouts this season and have played well against good teams. In their 2-1 loss to then-No. 2 Notre Dame last week, the Cardinals outshot the Irish 18-17.
Playing at home, the Cardinals should have an advantage, but the Bulls come in undefeated on the road with a record of 4-0-1. They’ve scored lower in road games than in their home matches. USF has scored 15 of its 21 goals at home. That could be a concern going into a match where it will need to finish as many chances as it possibly can.
Relying heavily on their attack, the Bulls have outshot their opponents 145-86 this season. With two teams that play a similar style of soccer, it’ll be the side that can go about its business as usual that stands the better chance of coming away with three points.
“Louisville is probably the most defensively organized team we’ll see this year,” coach George Kiefer said. “They’re well coached, and it’s going to be a good game.”
Team captain Yohance Marshall, who earned a spot on TopDrawerSoccer.com’s team of the week, will have to have to keep his back line together, delivering balls deep into Louisville’s half of the field. If the Bulls get sucked into playing the way the Cardinals want them to, they’ll have to make their counterattack efforts count.
On the other hand, if they can put an attack together like they did last weekend against West Virginia, outshooting the opposition 22-11, there is a good chance USF will return to Tampa with their eighth victory of the season.