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Division lead on the line Friday

Coming off its first defeat in more than a month, USF will look to get back to its winning ways when the team returns home to face Louisville on Friday.

With kickoff at 8 p.m. in the USF soccer stadium, the Bulls will try to regain sole possession of first place in the Big East Red Division.

Louisville beat Cincinnati on Tuesday to improve to 4-1-1 in league play, tying them with USF atop the standings.

USF will look to improve on some of the scoring opportunities the team has created for themselves, coach George Kiefer said after Tuesday’s 1-0 loss at DePaul.

“We did well (last Tuesday), we just have to get a little better on the finishes,” he said. “I was still very happy with the way we competed in a tough environment.”

Senior Jordan Seabrook had a chance late in Tuesday’s game but hit the post with two minutes left and the Bulls failed to force overtime.

“I was unlucky,” Seabrook said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Despite the loss, Kiefer noticed a very positive sign during practice this week.

“There has been good energy,” he said.  “It usually takes a little while for the guys to get going.”

This energy might be critical, as Friday’s game against Louisville has been chosen as the Fox Soccer Channel Game of the Week and will be nationally televised.

Kiefer said it will be a great opportunity for his squad to compete on a national stage.

“To be able to show everyone around the country the level we play at and the way we play is a huge benefit for us,” he said.  “You don’t get that opportunity very often in soccer.”

Getting a win may not be easy, however.

Louisville is on a roll, beating top 10 opponents St. John’s and Notre Dame  in consecutive games last week.

The Cardinals will look to bring their momentum with them to Tampa as the two teams battle with first place on the line.

USF has been held scoreless in its last two games, spanning a total of 200 minutes.

Louisville is ranked No. 7 in the latest poll and comes into Friday’s contest at 9-1-2.

This is the 19th meeting of the teams, with the Bulls leading the series 12-4-2.  Last year, the Bulls lost 1-0 at Louisville.