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Bulls’ defense struggles in loss to Memphis

Sophomore midfielder Lindo Mfeka scored the Bulls’ only goal Saturday in a 2-1 loss to Memphis. ORACLE PHOTO/GABRIEL

The Bulls were not able to tie the score late in the game, losing 2-1 to Memphis after giving up two goals early in Saturday’s match.

USF was down two before scoring its first goal late in the first half. The Bulls created multiple chances in the second half, but they were not enough as Memphis came away with the win.

“A two-goal lead in soccer is a good lead; it’s tough to climb out of,” coach George Kiefer said. “I said to them that they gave everything, they pushed forward, and they created a lot of chances in the second half where clearly we left it all on the field.”

It took just 10 minutes of gameplay for Memphis to open up the scoring, with midfielder Wil Linder scoring from the top of the box to the right post off a pass by midfielder Kenneth Kauker. USF goalkeeper Spasoje Stefanovic made a touch on the rolling ball, but it was not enough to make the save as it slowly bounced into the net.

The second goal was from Memphis defender Quincy Thomas as he dribbled down the right side past the defenders to shoot the ball past Stefanovic toward his far post.

USF’s only goal came from multiple passes between senior midfielder Edwin Moalosi and sophomore Lindo Mfeka in the box. Moalosi gave a pass ahead of Mfeka on the right side and Mfeka shot it just inside Memphis goalkeeper Cody Uzcategui’s far post.

USF came out in the second half with an all-out offensive scheme, putting up nine shots compared to Memphis’ one.

“In the first half we came in unprepared for the fight and we got punished,” Mfeka said. “We came out in the second half ready to fight, but we couldn’t get the goal.”

Uzcategui made his two saves in the second half, and Spasoje Stefanovic made three saves throughout the game.

“When we were trying to get that second goal back, there were a lot of chances where I felt like it was coming, but it just didn’t come tonight,” Kiefer said. “The issue really was just going down by two, that’s what made it difficult for us.”

With this loss, USF is now ranked third in the conference behind Connecticut and Tulsa. The Bulls will go on the road to play the Clemson Tigers on Tuesday night and will resume conference play Saturday against Connecticut.

“For now we’re just looking at Clemson,” Mfeka said. “We’re just taking one game at a time so we’re not worrying about Connecticut just yet.”