Though the USF men’s soccer team (9-2-2) has exceeded expectations for its season up to this point, the Bulls have had a very top-heavy offensive attack.
Junior midfielder Dom Dwyer, who transferred from Tyler Junior College, has scored a Big East-leading 13 goals, tied for fifth-most in the country. But beyond Dwyer, the Bulls’ offense lacks a secondary scorer.
Sophomore Leston Paul is second on the team in scoring, with four goals. However, that statistic is misleading, as three of those goals have come from penalty kicks, a scoring method this team can hardly rely on. The only other Bulls with multiple goals are freshmen Wesley Charpie and Lucas Baldin, with two goals each.
As USF gets further along in the Big East season, with big expectations in both the Big East tournament and the National College Cup due to a No. 11 national ranking, coach George Kiefer and the Bulls have to find a reliable secondary scorer.
The Bulls will likely face No. 1 Connecticut (13-0-1) at some point in the Big East tournament. To match up and beat the elite squads in the nation, the Bulls will need to find support for Dwyer. This team cannot rely on him to score in every game.
Injuries are inevitable in sports, and they’re something that can ruin a team’s season. Who will step up for Kiefer’s team if it cannot have Dwyer leading the attack game after game? As the season progresses, and if Dwyer can remain on a hot streak, teams will begin to eliminate him completely from games. What will the Bulls do to counter that?
It’s a luxury to have a player such as Dwyer, someone you can rely on to provide consistent and prolific goal scoring. But unless the Bulls can prove that they have a second legitimate threat, there will be games in which this team will struggle to produce goals.
Sophomore Christopher Waugh, Dwyer’s substitute on the Bulls’ bench, has shown flashes of brilliance with both his speed and ability to create offense. Though he doesn’t have any points this season due to a lack of minutes, he could be relied on to step up if the Bulls need him.
The Bulls’ next test is tonight on the road against Louisville, a team whose 8-4-1 record is not an indication of its strength. The Cardinals were close to the ultimate prize last year, losing 1-0 to Akron in the national title game.
Kiefer and the Bulls know they face a formidable opponent, and look to establish themselves as the best in the Big East Red division. Kickoff is scheduled for 7, with the game televised nationally on ESPNU.