South Florida men’s soccer came out victorious in its fourth conference matchup against No. 14 Tulsa 2-1 on Sunday night after a game filled with fouls and yellow cards.
In their victory, the Bulls (3-3-3, 2-0-2 AAC) remained offensively aggressive throughout the match with 10 shots in the first half and 16 shots in the second against the Golden Hurricane (6-2-2, 2-2-1 AAC).
Coach Bob Butehorn was impressed with the way the team came out and continued to press, but the journey doesn’t stop there.
“We prepared well for this team. Getting ready for the next one, making sure we execute the game plan and then keep moving forward because this is a tough one [the AAC],” Butehorn said.
Up until the second half, neither side was able to generate any goals in any of their shot attempts.
After Tulsa sent a ball into the net at the 67th minute, USF quickly returned the favor with a game-tying goal by graduate student forward Alfred Perez.
Seconds before Perez tied the game, two Tulsa players received yellow cards for unsportsmanlike conduct. When asked about the cards, Perez wasn’t sure what led to it.
Eight minutes later, sophomore forward Segun Afolabi raced toward the net to end the tie against the top 25 powerhouse. For Afolabi, it was his mentality and the team’s spirit that led to the goal.
“I just came in, wanted to give the team some energy. We’ve been playing good, had a good week of hard training and we felt like the past couple games got away from us,” Afolabi said.
“Just trying to do my job off the bench and keep the same level of the guys who started and just try to be there for my team.”
USF has grown from starting its season with not one goal for four games straight to defeating a ranked opponent. Until the end of conference play, time will play a significant role, according to Butehorn.
“We’re still not at the right time,” he said. “It’s going to be the right time hopefully in another couple of weeks but I think the nice thing is, is they got to see the reflection of themselves that I see [tonight].”
The Bulls will stay at home Wednesday to face Stetson at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Bulls Unlimited.