USF ties FGCU 1-1 in Butehorn’s first game against former team

Forward Adrian Billhardt (above) leads the Bulls with six assists this season, including one Tuesday against FGCU. THE ORACLE/ ABBY BAKER

For 12 years, USF men’s soccer coach Bob Butehorn held the same position for Florida Gulf Coast, leading the Eagles to four NCAA tournaments in only six years of postseason eligibility.

He was the program's first and only head coach prior to leaving for USF in December 2016.

On Tuesday, however, Butehorn led the Bulls to a 1-1 draw against his former team in front of 956 fans at Corbett Stadium.

“I didn't want to come out of the locker room,” Butehorn said. “This was a tough game to go through for me. That’s my former family.”

Butehorn’s next to last game as an Eagle came against USF, defeating the Bulls in penalty kicks on Nov. 17, 2016, which knocked USF out of the NCAA tournament.

Tuesday’s match was the first between USF (6-5-3, 3-1-1) and FGCU (6-5-3) since that night, putting revenge in the back of some of the Bulls’ minds.

“I think FGCU is a pretty good rival, we’ve lost against them the past two games,” midfielder Gonzalo Rodriguez, said. “It was revenge tonight, but we couldn’t win. The effort was great, but we still need to work on attacking movements. They had ten guys and we didn’t have too many chances to score.”

After conceding a penalty kick in the games 17th minute, USF equalized from a Rodriguez goal in the 35th. Three minutes later, FGCU’s Jordan Lue was issued a red card after lowering his shoulder into a Bull — forcing the Eagles to play a man down for the remainder of the match.

Outside of the red card, three yellow cards were issued in what was a physical first half by both teams.

Despite the one-man advantage and having six more shots than the Eagles, USF couldn’t break through in regulation, or in two ten-minute overtime periods.

“I knew FGCU was going to give us a tough game regardless,” Butehorn said. “I knew there was going to be a lot of emotion in that game. I'm glad the way we responded in coming back and getting a goal, but it was a hard game for our team.”

Next up for USF is a game against SMU (12-2, 4-1) Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Corbett Stadium. The game will be regular season home finale.

“We better bring our A-game (Sunday),” Butehorn said.

Additional reporting by Josh Fiallo