ORLANDO — USF's fourth straight trip to the men's soccer NCAA Tournament was a short one, as the Bulls were beaten soundly in the opening round, losing 3-0 to Central Florida on Thursday night.
"We picked a bad day to have a bad day," said USF coach George Kiefer, whose team played for the first time in 15 days. "Going into the game, looking at their personnel and our personnel, I felt good about the game. We didn't look sharp today. Clearly not playing in 15 days has an impact."
UCF (12-4-3) opened the scoring on a header by Ben Hunt in the 35th minute. The key goal came with 57 seconds left in the first half, when Nik Robson scored his 10th goal on a penalty kick.
"I think one of the turning points was giving up a goal with a minute to go in the first half to go down 2-0," Kiefer said.
USF (9-6-4) lost Marius Krathe to a red card after a foul in the 65th minute, and UCF converted the foul just outside the penalty box into a goal by Yaron Bacher. Senior goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, a Countryside High graduate, took the loss, giving up more than two goals for only the second time this season.
The Knights travel to face 10th-seeded Michigan on Sunday.