Charlotte captures last-minute victory over South Florida

Junior forward Segun Afolabi scored the only goal the Bulls made in the match against Charlotte. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

Charlotte secured a 2-1 victory over USF men’s soccer after a corner kick was awarded to the 49ers due to a yellow card received by the Bulls Sunday night at Corbett Stadium. 

The Bulls (3-7, 1-2 AAC) were in search of their 10th home win against the 49ers (6-2-1, 3-1 AAC) but lost their momentum to give Charlotte the last-minute win.

Coach Bob Butehorn expressed his frustration and disappointment with the game despite acknowledging his team played well. 

“We played a good game,” he said. “I think that was probably one of the ones we deserved. We’ve had other games like that, it’s just we don’t walk away and I can’t figure it out.”

Graduate forward and striker Jalen Anderson demonstrated his offensive talent with a top-right net shot attempt in the 19th minute.

Afolabi found the back of the net in the 57th minute, leveling the score with an assist from sophomore winger and forward Jemone Barclay.

In the 89th minute, Charlotte scored another goal concluding the match with a 2-1 scoreline.

South Florida exhibited a strong offensive strategy, consistently stopping Charlotte’s defensive lines and creating multiple scoring opportunities. However, the Bulls fell short of converting those key plays into goals.

Butehorn highlighted the efforts of all his strikers and their contributions to the team’s points. 

“I’m just happy that he got it,” he said. “All my strikers have been working really hard to get points on the board.”

Charlotte demonstrated resilient and strategic gameplay taking control of their scoring opportunities and maintaining a solid defensive front. They navigated through South Florida’s aggressive offense to secure vital goals.

In the second half, USF collected 13 shots. Butehorn believed his team performed well and managed to have the majority of ball possession and create scoring opportunities.

“I just thought our guys played really well,” he said. “I thought they were given a gift in the first half on a [penalty kick] and we responded and actually had pretty much most of the ball and most of the chances in the second half.” 

The penalty kick goal from Charlotte in the first period set the tone and shifted the momentum for South Florida for the rest of the game.

South Florida’s aggressive offensive approach created numerous opportunities but left the defenders vulnerable. Charlotte balanced its defensive solidity with opportunistic attacking.

The game unfolded with intense emotions featuring moments of unwavering determination from both teams. In the end, it was Charlotte who secured the win by capitalizing on crucial opportunities, despite South Florida’s fightback.

The emotions spilled over even after the game, leading to a post-game altercation on the field.

Butehorn acknowledged that his team was able to create offensive opportunities and manage space effectively. He said the defense lacked at some points giving Charlotte more scoring chances. 

“I think for us and our attack, we were able to build, we were able to create some space, we were able to get balls in the box,” he said. “I think defensively we were a little bit loose.”

The game, marked by pivotal goals and intense competition, left both teams with valuable insights.

Butehorn praised his team for making good adjustments during the game and remained optimistic about their potential. 

“I just think that it was a good adjustment by our guys. I still think there’s a good team, the path might be a little bit different, but I still think there’s a good team,” he said.