The USF men’s soccer team and Providence played out a 1-1 draw Saturday night in a physical game at the USF Soccer Stadium.
The game was highlighted by conflicts between Providence goalkeeper Jhojan Obando, USF midfielder Wesley Charpie and USF fans. With a few minutes left in regulation, and the Friars holding on to a draw, Charpie collided with Obando – resulting in an argument between the teams. As regulation ended, Obando was taunted by USF fans behind his goal and began to argue with them – pointing and yelling at the students.
“In the Big East, it is always going to be a physical game and Providence is a hardworking team, we are proud, ourselves, to be a hardworking team,” USF defender and team co-captain Aubrey Perry said. “So, when two opponents like that clash, it is obviously going to be a good battle. So, we try to match their intensity and try to make sure we win the fight.”
The Bulls (5-2-2, 1-0-1) were not as aggressive at the beginning of the match as usual are, which brought consequences as Providence (6-1-2, 1-0-1) controlled the opening period.
“I thought the first half we came out kind of slow,” Perry said. “We were impatient. We forced a lot through the middle.”
The Bulls’ midfield struggled to keep possession, allowing the Friars to get close to the USF goal, with Providence opening the scoring in the 15th minute.
With the Bulls trailing 1-0 at the break after a goal by Providence attacker Greg Davis, coach George Kiefer changed the game plan for the second half, instructing the Bulls to control the ball more on the flanks and keep possession for longer periods of time.
“We did a better job with the ball in the second half, where we weren’t defending as much, and we were a little bit tighter on Providence,” Kiefer said.
In the 57th minute, USF forward Dom Dwyer was brought down in the penalty area, earning a penalty kick for the Bulls. Sophomore midfielder Leston Paul executed the penalty kick to the bottom-left side of the goalkeeper, who dove to the opposite side, leveling the score at 1-1.
From that point on, USF played a different game.
“(In the) second half and the two overtimes we had 90 percent possession,” Kiefer said. “Whenever we didn’t have the ball, we wanted to get the ball and we got the ball and then we kept it again. We did a good job in being the aggressor in the second half and the overtimes.”
Even though USF came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw, Kiefer said the team could have won.
“I feel like we put ourselves in the position to win the game, it just didn’t come away with it tonight,” Kiefer said. “Nine times out of 10, you win that game.”