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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Gators take on top-ranked Noles

Florida went winless through four matches leading up to their date with top-ranked FSU

<p>Florida&#x27;s Kit Loferski in a game against Texas A&amp;M in 2019.</p>

Florida's Kit Loferski in a game against Texas A&M in 2019.

Florida takes on No. 1 Florida State Thursday night in Tallahassee at the Seminole Soccer Complex after a shaky start to head coach Tony Amato’s tenure as head coach. The Gators lost three of four to start the year and enter the affair with the undefeated Seminoles without a win. 

Amato’s Gators look to stay competitive with their in-state rivals, as Florida is in desperate need of a moral victory in its continued fight for their first true win of the season. 

Goals for the Gators have come scarce early in the season and the stingy Seminole defense should make life even harder for Florida’s attacking threats. In four matches, FSU has scored 11 goals while just conceding one, good for a goal differential of +10. On the other side of the pitch, Florida’s goal difference stands at -4.

“We are capable of [scoring goals],” Amato told the media following Sunday night’s loss to Miami. “We just have to get in those spots more often and put it in the back of the net”.

Early on in its loss to UCF, Florida employed a high-tempo, attacking style of play which proved insufficient against the Knight’s coordinated attack. Faced with another team with quality in the final third in FSU, Amato and Co. should approach the match with a defensive focus and emphasize stability across the back line. Expect the Gators to sit back and look for attacking chances on the counter against the Noles, playing deep out of possession and pouncing on long balls when the opportunity arises. 

Goals will come, but defensive structure should remain the focus of an inexperienced Gator squad under the helm of a new head coach.

Florida faces the Noles at 7 p.m. on Thursday night in Tallahassee. The game can be streamed via ESPN+.

Contact Ryan Zehnder at rzehnder@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @ryan_zehnder.

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