Temple ties South Florida, unbeaten streak reaches three

Temple is now one point behind fourth place in the AAC standings with just four games left in the season.

Temple extends it's unbeaten streak to three games after tying the University of South Florida. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Men’s Soccer (2-5-3, 1-2-2 American Athletic Conference) tied South Florida (3-7-1, 1-3-1 AAC) 1-1 Saturday at the Temple Sports Complex. 

After starting the season 0-5-2, the Owls are unbeaten in the past three games, which hasn’t happened in the same season since September 2021. Temple picked up a point to remain just one behind fourth place in the AAC standings.

The Owls found a rhythm early, and their aggressive play style paid off. In the ninth minute, midfielder Elias Betancourt found forward Juan Zepeda, who put the ball through the bottom-left of the goal to put Temple up 1-0. It was Zepeda’s second goal in the last four games.

“The first goal was sort of out of structure, but it gave us a good start,” said Temple head coach Bryan Green. “After that, we couldn’t find our tempo and we got complacent.”

USF had multiple chances to strike back, with shots from forward Jalen Anderson in the 14th minute and forward Jemone Barclay in the 18th minute, but both sailed off target. 

Temple goalkeeper Andrew Kempe made his return to the lineup after Flannan Riley started against Syracuse. Kempe recorded his first save in the 27th minute on a shot from USF midfielder Ajmeer Spengler.

“It felt good to be back out there with my teammates,” Kempe said. “I think we wanted more out of this game riding the past couple wins.”

USF went into the half leading Temple in shots 5-2 and corner kicks 2-0, but could not get on the board. 

The Bulls finally broke through in the 47th minute when midfielder Takeru Moriyama fired a shot on goal after a deflected corner kick to tie the game at one.

In the 57th minute, Barclay looked to give the Bulls the lead, but Kempe recorded his second save. USF utilized quick passing in the box, but Kempe was able to react swiftly and deflect the ball.

The Bulls continuously tested Kempe, and he continued to respond, recording two more saves against USF forward Segun Afolabi in the 66th minute and forward Oscar Resano in the 69th minute.

“They put us under a lot of pressure,” Kempe said. “It sucks we gave up a corner to them, but I think we responded well overall. Corner kicks are something our goalies practice a lot.”

Zepeda nearly put the Owls on top with a shot in the 85th minute, but USF goalkeeper Alan Horrocks came up with a save. Midfielder Felix Ewald was unable to capitalize off the deflection and sent a shot that missed left.

Temple will look to get back in the win column against Stony Brook (5-3-4, 4-0-2 Coastal Athletic Association) at Lavalle Stadium Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m.

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