The USF Soccer Stadium hosted its final game Sunday night, and for those involved with the USF program, the result was never going to matter as much as the occasion.
FC Tampa Bay left the stadium as the final winner, on the right side of a 3-0 decision thanks to a first-half goal from Keith Savage and a pair of second-half goals from Aaron King and Omar Jarun.
It’s not a common occurrence for USF to leave its own stadium as losers. USF holds the record for fourth-longest home winning streak in the NCAA at 30 games.
“There was a lot of winning done on this field,” coach George Kiefer said. “I think it’s been good to me since I’ve been here. It’s nice to have the last game, and I’m really looking forward to moving into the new facility.”
USF seemed outmatched by the professional counterpart for long stretches of the match. FC Tampa Bay plays in the North American Soccer League, the U.S.’ second division league.
One of the few offensive bright spots came just before halftime when FC Tampa Bay goalkeeper Daryl Sattler muffed a pass to his left back David Hayes that ricocheted off USF midfielder Sebastian Thuriere’s head. Unfortunately for USF, no one was in the area to capitalize.
“To get the Big East (Tournament) at home and to win the Big East Tournament here (in 2008) was a great one. For me, that was one of the best memories,” Kiefer said. “The NCAA game that went to PK’s and Jeff (Attinella) made some key saves, and I think there was 2,000 people behind the goal.
“You reflect back, and the team has done a lot of winning, and not just my teams, but all the coaches here. If you look at USF’s home record, it’s one of the best in the country.”
With this match behind him, Kiefer reminisced about the happy memories he made on that familiar touchline.
Former USF standout Jeff Attinella entered the game for FC Tampa Bay as a second-half substitute and shut out the Bulls, though he wasn’t required to make a save.
“If the game was even, I would’ve wanted (a goal), or even if it was a (two-goal game) and one would’ve gotten us back in it, but I’m happy Jeff kept a clean sheet, and I’m hopeful he can have a good career with them,” Kiefer said.