Men's Soccer Beats Rutgers 2-1, Will Play For AAC Championship

Stiven Salinas' game-winning goal put USF into the AAC Final - gousfbulls.com

Stiven Salinas scores the game winner in double overtime.

And with that goal, USF advances to the conference tournament championship against Connecticut, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

In the third minute of the game, Rutgers took a 1-0 lead on a similar long range shot. But USF quickly answered on a sweet through ball from Terry Delancy to Edwin Moalosi, after Moalosi stole a lazy Rutgers backpass.

After those early fireworks, the game settled into the type USF has often played this season: with the Bulls blasting away at the other team's goal, but remaining tied after 90 minutes. USF outshot Rutgers 17-8 in regulation, but RU's 2nd team all-conference goalkeeper David Grezcek made several quality saves. USF's Brentton Muhammad also came up with a big save, stopping a 1-on-1 late in the second half.

Stiven Salinas nearly scored in the first overtime, but he one-timed a cross just outside the goal post. In the second OT, he found just enough space for the curling 20-yard strike that won it.

TheAmerican.org has a highlight video for the game. Check it out, especially the Delancy/Moalosi goal. It's pretty. That sequence begins at 1:12.

To catch you up on the conference tournament: USF won its first round game at #4 seed Temple 1-0, on a Salinas goal just before halftime. The Bulls then avoided having to play regular season champ/#14 ranked Louisville when Rutgers upset the Cardinals in the quarterfinals. In the other semi-final, UConn beat Central Florida 2-0, setting up a UConn-USF final.

UConn (11-2-5, 4-0-4) was ranked earlier in the season. Like USF, they don't give up many goals (0.50 per game, to USF's 0.68, both of which are in the top 20 nationally). UConn and USF's regular season match was a 1-1 tie, back on September 27. Then-#22 UConn outshot the Bulls in overtime, and Muhammad had to come up with a last-minute save to preserve the draw.

USF needs to win the American tournament to have any chance of making the NCAA tournament. UConn will play for the College Cup either way. This match will be a tough test for USF, but if you'd like to speculate about where the team might play in the NCAAs, here's some soccer bracketology.

The American Athletic Conference championship is on Sunday, at 2pm Eastern/1 PM Central. It can be seen on ESPN3.

UPDATE: ESPN3 does not seem to be carrying the game live, only a replay at 10:30 PM. There is a game tracker at http://sidearmstats.com/theamerican/msoc/?SPID=2914&DB_OEM_ID=7700

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