USF men’s soccer draws in physical match against FIU

Sophomore forward Segun Afolabi scored the second goal of the game in the 39th minute. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

Looking to bounce back from Wednesday’s loss against Stetson, South Florida men’s soccer tied Florida International at home 3-3 on Sunday night, resulting in the team’s fourth draw of the season.

In the intense back-and-forth match, the action started from the jump. The Panthers (7-4-1, 3-2-1 AAC) and Bulls (3-4-4, 2-0-2 AAC) netted goals in the third and fourth minutes of the game.

“I would say that was a pretty good character check for that group,” coach Bob Butehorn said. “They were going against the grain a lot.”

A total of 30 shots, 10 corner kicks and nine saves were recorded between the two teams.

Momentum shifted from team to team throughout the match to take control of the game. Although FIU generated 21 shots to USF’s nine, each team capitalized on three of their chances.

Tensions flared throughout the aggressive match, as there were many reckless tackles, a lot of time spent on the ground and an all-out brawl between the two teams in the final minute of the game.

After coming in as a substitute, sophomore forward Segun Afolabi scored, got injured, came off and subbed back in all in the span of this game.

“It was a gritty one for sure. We went down three times, a lot of adversity. I’m proud of this team, keep on fighting, keep on pushing back,” Afolabi said.

The Bulls committed 12 fouls and had four yellow cards and one red card, while the Panthers had 12 fouls and three yellow cards. Both an FIU and a USF player had to come out of the game due to injuries that occurred on fouls.

Sophomore centerback Brian Schaefer had a notable performance including multiple tackles, deflections and a wild goal. His goal came off of a cross in the fourth minute, when he bicycle kicked it into the back of the net along with a goal saving tackle in the penalty box.

“I just saw the ball come in,” Shaeffer said. “Honestly, [sophomore midfielder Marcus] Victorio played it and I was just trying to redirect it toward the goal and that’s why I did it and it ended up going in.”

Despite the tie, the energy among the players and coaches was extremely high after the game as the Bulls escaped defeat playing with 10 men.

“It was definitely a tie but it felt like a win for the way the game happened,” Afolabi said.

USF will take the road to Dallas to face SMU on Friday at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.