Burleigh

The Gators take on FGCU Thursday after losing four straight games. It's the first of two unranked matchups for UF this weekend.

Four straight losses. 

Gators soccer played three straight road games against top 10 teams and then opened their home schedule against UCF this past Sunday. 

After losing all of those games, Florida gets two unranked teams this weekend. A 2-4 UF team will face Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday and Miami on Sunday at Donald R. Dizney stadium.

The Gators need to get out of this rut to have any chance of getting into the top 25 at any point this season. Here are a few things that the Gators need to address:

Better starts

Florida has been in the habit of starting slow, evident against UCF. 

“I thought it was a slow start,” coach Becky Burleigh said. “I mean, you can’t give up a goal in the first few minutes and that type of mental error — that’s tough.”

Other times, like against UCLA, it has been the other team dominating the time of possession. Grabbing early goals obviously is ideal, but controlling more time of possession is necessary. It creates more chances and gets midfielders Parker Roberts and Alex Stubblebine involved early. 

Better finishes

The UCF game was also representative of the brutal finishes that have plagued Florida during this four-game stretch. The Knights scored in the 86th minute, essentially shutting out any hope of a UF comeback. 

“We didn’t have enough quality chances that we were able to stick in the back of the net,” Burleigh said. “The second goal, I feel that’s a mental error too, to be fair.” 

She’s referring to a Florida turnover inside the 18-yard box, giving UCF an easy goal to end the game. UF’s offense is not explosive enough to give away easy goals like that. In all likelihood, Florida’s wins against quality opponents this season will be low-scoring affairs, such as its 2-0 victory over USF, the last time the Gators enjoyed a win.

More threatening scoring chances

The Gators have played counterattacks well so far in 2019. The speed of Kit Loferski has been particularly useful in pushing the ball up the field when the Gators have numbers. However, they have struggled mightily making it count. They have to take better angles on shots to get them in the back of the net more often. 

At this point in the season, with the toughest stretch of games behind UF, games like this weekend’s are must-wins. After Sunday night’s game, Florida could either be a .500 team or a six-loss team that hasn’t won a match in three weeks.

Follow Graham Marsh on Twitter @GrahamMarshUF. Contact him at [email protected].