AAC men’s soccer playoff hopes rest on finale after loss

After Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Central Florida in Orlando, Temple’s three-game winning streak is over and it must win its final game to make the American Athletic Conference tournament.

Senior forward and midfielder Joonas Jokinen takes a shot in the Owls' 2-1 loss to Southern Methodist on Oct. 7 at the Temple Sports Complex. | JAY NEEMEYER / TTN FILE PHOTO

Temple’s playoff hopes rest on the outcome of Saturday’s game against South Florida.

The Owls lost, 1-0, on the road on Saturday to Central Florida to fall to fifth in the American Athletic Conference standings. The team’s three-game winning streak also ended in Orlando, Florida.

Temple (8-7-1, 3-3 The American) is one point behind the Knights and Bulls. Southern Methodist and Connecticut, which each have 12 points to lead The American, have clinched playoff spots. The top four teams make the playoffs, which start with a semifinal round on Nov. 10.

Central Florida senior midfielder and forward Matias Pyysalo, the 2016 American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, scored his 11th goal of the season in the 50th minute to put the Knights ahead of Temple.

The Owls attempted 10 shots, including two in the last 10 minutes as they tried to force overtime.

South Florida faces Southern Methodist on Sunday before its regular-season finale at the Temple Sports Complex against the Owls. The Bulls have one win in their past five games, earning draws in their last two matches.

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