South Florida scored twice in the first 15 minutes, but needed an insurance marker from Sebastian Thuriere with eight minutes to go before Florida Atlantic’s late effort gave the Bulls a test at the USF Soccer Stadium on Wednesday night.
Everthing appeared to be plain sailing for the Bulls (8-2-2) as they took the lead in the sixth minute on a goal by Hasani Sinclar as saw that lead double nine minutes later through Bernardo Anor. Holding the Owls without a shot on goal in the first half further established a sense of control for the Bulls.
But the Owls hit back nine minutes after the break, as a pair of former Tampa high school standouts teamed up to score. Xavi Pecora (Jesuit) received a pass from Darnell King (Gaither), and fired a shot past Bulls goalkeeper Jeff Attinella into the top left corner to make the score 2-1.
Thuriere restored the Bulls two-goal advantage in the 83rd minute, Ogi Perucica and Zak Boggs linking up before Thuriere finished, but King made the final three minutes nervy for the Bulls, scoring his third goal of the season in the 87th minute.
The win was the Bulls first in three games, and they will hope to carry the goalscoring portion of the game on into Saturday’s return to Big East play. The Bulls travel to play a Syracuse team that has struggled to find form all season. The Orange’s only Big East win came on Oct. 2 against Rutgers, and since then they have been on a three-game losing streak, giving up nine goals.