TAMPA (Nov. 2, 2022) – The University of South Florida men’s soccer team closed out the regular season with a thrilling 2-1 win over Central Florida in the final American Athletic Conference edition of the War on I-4. The Bulls, who are unbeaten in nine of their last 11 matches, improved to 6-5-4 and 5-1-3 in The American while the Knights fell to 6-7 overall and 3-6 in league play.
The victory not only ended their rivals’ season, it assured the Bulls of a first-round home match in the AAC tournament. South Florida earned the No. 3 seed and will play host to No. 6 seed Charlotte on Sunday.
With Wednesday’s match scoreless after 45 minutes, Gabrielle Privitera almost got the Bulls on the board with a laser that was tipped just over the crossbar. Julio Plata, however, struck seconds later for the Bulls with his first career goal on just his fifth career shot. The Tampa product played a corner kick sent in from Privitera, headed the ball down to the ground, regained possession and fired a shot from three yards out beating Central Florida’s Juanvi Munoz in the 60th minute.
Privitera himself created another chance 11 minutes later off a turnover, dribbling into the 18 and sending his offering past Munoz to make the score 2-0.
The Knights looked to make things interesting when Lucas Mauro went to the low left corner on a penalty kick, after a questionable foul in the box, beating South Florida goalkeeper Jackson Weyman and cutting the Bulls’ advantage to 2-1.
Central Florida, desperately in need of a win to extend its season, created numerous opportunities down the stretch but Weyman and the South Florida defense stood tall to preserve the margin.
As the Bulls were securing the victory, they had hopes for a first-round AAC tournament bye, but that was foiled when FIU scored in the closing minutes to defeat FAU 1-0. That not only kept FIU (6-2-1, 19 points) above the Bulls (18 points) in the standings, but eventually pushed USF into the third seed when SMU later defeated Tulsa 3-2. The Mustangs, who finished tied with the Bulls on points, earned the No. 2 seed due to a head-to-head win over USF; the teams would meet in the conference semifinals should South Florida get past Charlotte.
USF – Julio Plata (Unassisted; 59:12)
USF – Gabrielle Privitera (Unassisted; 84:06)
UCF – Lucas Mauro (Penalty Kick; 84:06)
1 2 F
USF 0 2 2
UCF 0 1 1
Shots: USF 14, UCF 11
Shots on Goal: USF 6, UCF 3
Saves: USF 1, UCF 4
Corner Kicks: USF 3, UCF 10
Fouls: USF 10, UCF 8
- Wednesday’s win over Central Florida in the War on I-4 improved South Florida’s record in the series to a commanding 27-9-3 and a 12-3-3 mark in matches played in Orlando.
- Central Florida held a 5-0 shot advantage early in the match, however, the Bulls finished the night with a 14-11 shot advantage, including a 6-3 edge in shots goal.
- Gabrielle Privitera led the way with match highs of four shots and two shots to goal along with his first career goal.
- In addition to Weyman, Salvatore Mazzaferro, Nicolas Scargle and Brian Schaefer all played a complete 90 minutes.
South Florida will now head to the American Athletic Conference Tournament. Check GoUSFBulls.com for match dates, times and opponent. The match can be seen on ESPN+.
Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-GoBulls or at Ticketmaster.
All home matches this season will be broadcast live on USF Bulls Unlimited, with Darek Sharp on the call. Bulls Unlimited is available via the free Tune In app (search “Bulls Unlimited”) and provides static-free quality whether you’re listening on your streaming device, laptop or desktop.
In addition to Bulls Unlimited, all of South Florida’s home regular season matches will be streamed live on the ESPN+ platform. Subscriptions for the ESPN+ app are $6.99 monthly or $69.99 annually and can be packaged with Hulu and Disney+ streaming services. A step-by-step guide for subscribing to ESPN+ is located here.
About USF Men’s Soccer
To stay up-to-date on the latest USF Men’s Soccer news, follow the Bulls on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram).
USF Men’s Soccer competed in the school’s first ever intercollegiate athletic contest on Sept. 25, 1965, beating Florida Southern 4-3. Since then, the oldest program on campus has built a winning tradition, claiming 14 conference championships and making 21 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 3 trips to the elite eight.
The program also has a strong reputation within the professional game and boasts 29 MLS draft picks. Notable alumni include two-time MLS Golden Boot winner Jeff Cunningham, USA 1994 World Cup star Roy Wegerle, and 2013 MLS Cup winner Dom Dwyer.
The Bulls have advanced to the postseason in 18 of the past 20 years, including 12 NCAA Tournament appearances during that period.
The University of South Florida men’s soccer team was well represented on the AAC postseason All-Conference Team in 2021 with four players earning honors. Highlighting the Bulls’ honorees was the American Athletic Conference Co-Goalkeeper of the Year, Kazuna Takase, along with first-team selection Shion Soga. In addition, Takase was also selected to the All-Conference Second Team along with Salvatore Mazzaferro, and Josh Gomina was named to the AAC All-Rookie Team.
– #GoBulls –