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Monday, February 06, 2023

UF soccer falls out of rankings after historically bad weekend

<p>Florida goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese conceded three goals in UF's loss to Southern California Sunday. Marckese hasn't gotten much help from the offense, which has failed to score in four-straight games. </p>

Florida goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese conceded three goals in UF's loss to Southern California Sunday. Marckese hasn't gotten much help from the offense, which has failed to score in four-straight games. 

Florida soccer made history on Sunday, but not the kind that would warrant a press release.

With a 3-0 loss to No. 4 Southern California, UF was shutout in four consecutive matches for the first time in program history, breaking the previous record of three games set in the team’s inaugural season in 1995.

After being ranked as high as No. 5, Florida has fallen out of the United Soccer Coaches rankings following a draw with No. 7 UCLA and losses to Ohio State, No. 21 Oklahoma State and USC. Things won’t get any easier for the Gators with their trip to No. 3 Florida State coming up on Friday.

Despite the lack of goals, coach Becky Burleigh still sees some positives in Florida’s attack.

“The last two games we played, we had a pretty strong focus on staying defensively compact and hoping that we were going to counter out of that,” she said. “And we’ve had some ability to counter out of that, we just haven’t gotten the final product.”

Burleigh is right; Florida hasn’t gotten the final product. They haven’t manufactured enough chances, and the numbers don’t lie: In its last four games, UF has been outshot 54-27. Its 10.17 shots per game is tied for 242nd in the nation.

There is hope on the horizon, however, with star forward Deanne Rose scheduled to come back this weekend. Rose, Florida’s leading scorer a year ago, has only appeared once this season, missing time with a hamstring injury and then to play with the Canadian National Team.

Even with Rose’s expected return, the Gators will need more production from midfielders like Mayra Pelayo, Briana Solis and Sarah Troccoli. The trio of midfielders combined for 30 points last season. This year they’ve only accumulated three.

The defense hasn’t exactly been horrendous. Still, its 1.259 goals allowed per game ranks 176th in the nation. Problems arose early on when it came to defending set pieces. While that particular problem has improved, Florida will need to avoid lapses in concentration like the one it had against USC when it allowed three goals in a 16-minute stretch.

FSU is allowing the third-fewest number of goals per game in the nation this season. Unfortunately for Florida, things could get worse before they get better.

 

You can Follow Sam Campisano on Twitter @samcampisano or contact him at scampisano@alligator.org.  

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Florida goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese conceded three goals in UF's loss to Southern California Sunday. Marckese hasn't gotten much help from the offense, which has failed to score in four-straight games. 

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