On a cold, windy afternoon at Villanova’s Higgins Sports Complex, Temple surrendered a goal early and did not make up the difference in a 1-0 loss to the South Florida Saturday.
The game, originally scheduled for 2 p.m. at Ambler Sports Complex was moved to 4 p.m. at Higgins due to expected inclement weather from Hurricane Joaquin.
Along with inclimate weather, the Owls (7-2-2, 0-2 The American Athletic Conference) had to deal with the loss of Jorge Gomez Sanchez, who left the game with an injury in the 22nd minute.
Sanchez suffered the injury a few minutes prior after a collision with two USF defenders.
Coach David MacWilliams does not yet know the extent of the injury, but assessed it a probable hamstring pull.
Sanchez has 11 goals and 25 total points through 11 games—both rank second in Division I.
“He’s been a big part of our scoring,” MacWilliams said. “He’s over 50 percent if not more, so we need a guy like that on the field. Obviously with him not on the field, our scoring production went down. I think we had some good looks, we just didn’t finish.”
In the 15th minute of play Temple’s defense attempted to pass the ball up the turf field, which was slick from a mist falling throughout the game.
The ball took a bad skip and ended up on the foot of Bulls’ Nazeem Bartman , who capitalized on the errant pass to score his fourth goal of the season.
“Offensively they had a couple quick guys,” junior defender Matt Mahoney said. “I think the weather conditions helped them out a little bit. They were able to get behind a lot because of the wind and skippy conditions.””
In the 67th minute, Sanchez’s replacement, freshman midfielder/ forward Jordan Wix-Rauch, received a pass from Mahoney in the middle of the box. Before he could get much control of the ball Bulls junior goalie Spasoje Stefanovich broke up the play.
A few moments later in 70th minute, Wix-Rauch had a one-on-one opportunity with a South Florida defender. He got behind the defense and fired a shot at Stefanovich which went wide right, skimming the post.
“They’re a very athletic team,” MacWilliams said of the Bulls. “I think they were knocking balls up and then getting the second ball. I thought Jordan came in and did a pretty good job of winning the air balls and giving us some of those secondary balls.”
The Owls have not won a match since their 4-1 victory against La Salle Sept. 23. Last season, the team started conference play 1-1-1 and finished with five consecutive loses.
“We’re definitely bouncing back,” freshman midfielder Belal Mohamed said. “We’ve been in a slump lately. I feel like if we just pass the ball around and play like we did earlier this season we’ll be back to where we were. Hopefully it’s as soon as possible.”
Dan Newhart can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @dannynewhart