#20 South Florida Men's Soccer 2014 Preview

South Florida Bulls

Overall Rank: #20
#2 American
#20 South Florida Men's Soccer 2014 Preview
South Florida Team Page


South Florida was a tough team to beat last season. The Bulls lost just four times in 2013, bolstered by their defense that was ninth n the country in goals against average, allowing jus 0.67 goals per game. Their stout defense helped them win the inaugural American Athletic Conference Tournament, securing an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. South Florida lost their first game there, losing a 1-0 contest to North Carolina. With the majority of the production off that team back this season, the Bulls should be a favorite in the AAC this season.

2013 Record: 8-4-9, 2-2-4
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: George Kiefer

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Lindo Mfeka, Sophomore, M, 5; Edwin Moalosi, Senior, F, 5
Assists: Wesley Charpie, Senior, M, 6
Shots: : Lindo Mfeka, Sophomore, M, 57
Saves: Dallas Jaye, Senior, GK, 2

Other Key Returnees: F Kennedy Adablah, F Terry Delancy, M Gerardo Hernandez, M Marcus Epps, M Duane Muckette, D Nikola Paunic

Key Losses: F Stiven Salinas, M Samuel Hosseini, D Ben Sweat, GK Brentton Muhammad

South Florida returns a wealth of experience in the midfield and it should be the strength of the Bulls team this season. Lindo Mfeka and Edwin Moalosi tied for the team lead in points last season with 14, as each player scored five goals and added four assists. They are both back this season and will anchor South Florida’s midfield. Joining them will be senior Wesley Charpie, who led the team in assists last season with six. Duane Muckette also returns after starting every game as a freshman, where he recorded one assist. Junior Lucas Balpin looks to get back into the mix after missing last season due to injury. The Brazil native scored five goals in his first two seasons on campus, appearing in every game during each season. Senior Gerardo Hernandez, who scored one goal and added one assist in 17 games last year, and sophomore Marcus Epps, one goal in 21 appearances, will be in the mix for playing time, as will junior college transfer Atsou Ayah, freshman Eduardo Maceira and Pittsburgh transfer Graham Smith. The Bulls take a hit up front as top goal scorer Stiven Salinas departs, but a trio of players look set to offset that lost production. Senior Kennedy Abdalah is back after finishing fourth on the team in points last season with eight, scoring three goals and adding two assists. The former University of Ghana player should see his number increase in his second season with the Bulls, as should junior Terry Delancey, who had a goal and an assist in 20 appearances last season. The x-factor could be Tampa transfer Tyler Blackwood. A two-time Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year, Blackwood provides a proven scoring option that could step in for Salinas after leading the Sunshine State Conference in points, 32, and goals, 13, last season.

South Florida was among the nations best defensively last season, but that could be hard to maintain as the Bulls lost the majority of their backline and their starting goalkeeper. Nikola Paunic is the lone starter back and he will be counted on heavily. The former Toronto FC Academy captain started all 21 games as a freshman last season and helped the Bulls post eight shutouts. Sophomore Matthew O’Neal figures to join Paunic in the starting lineup after scoring one goal in 14 appearances last season. Beyond that, there is little experience on the roster. Jackson Brown and Juan Carlos Garcia are the only other returning defenders on the roster but they have combine for just five career appearances. The Bulls will likely look to some of the incoming players to step into key roles. Junior College All-American Brandon Riley leads the group after playing two seasons at Tyler Junior College, where his team finished third nationally in 2011, followed by a national runner-up performance last season. He will be pushed by a pair of highly touted freshman, Rohan Roberts and Ryan Talbot. Roberts is a former Orlando City U-18 player who made College Soccer News’s Top 150 rankings, while Talbot played for Philadelphia Union’s U-18 team and was labeled as a three star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer. Venezuelan native Allesandro Paciocco could also be in the mix after playing on the Venezuelan U-13, U-15 and U-17 national teams during his youth. Brentton Muhammad provided a wall behind the backline in goal last season, ranking 11th in the country in save percentage, 0.843, and ninth in goals against average, 0.621, but he is gone this season. Redshirt-junior Brendan Jaye should step into the vacant starting spot after serving as the backup last season. Jaye made one start last season and seven in 2012. A former top 50 national recruit, Jaye has the potential to be a more than capable replacement for Muhammad this season.

Final Projection:
The Bulls were a strong defensive team last season that struggles a bit offensively, but watch for those roles to flip this season. With just one starter back on the backline, it will likely be tough for South Florida to repeat their impressive numbers this season. However, the Bulls lose just two key players from the midfield and forward positions and with a year of experience under a number of young players belts, the offensive numbers should see an increase. Head Coach George Kiefer brings in a solid recruiting class that has a mix of freshmen and transfers at positions of need. Riley added experience to a backline that has little, while players like Roberts and Talbot are two freshmen with big potential who could see immediate time there as well. Overall, this South Florida team has more overall talent than last season’s team, and if some of the new players can fill the roles that are needed, the Bulls could have a lot of success in 2014.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 1.19 (123rd in nation, 6th in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.67 (9, 1)
Shutout Percentage: 0.38 (44, 4)
Save Percentage:  0.830 (17, 2)


See All College Sports Madness Top 44 Men's Soccer Previews