Goal Keeper Alexa Goldberg (5) recovers from a shot on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. The Gators were defeated by Missouri State University 0-1. (Sydney Johnson/WRUF)

Florida vs. Georgia Soccer Rivalry Match Ends In Draw

The scoring issues continue for the Florida soccer team as it ties rival Georgia 0-0 Sunday against the host Bulldogs.  Florida hasn’t been able to find the back of the net since the 74th minute of its 4-0 win against LSU on September 30.

The Gators (5-4-4, 1-3-2 SEC) and the Bulldogs ( 6-3-4, 2-2-2 SEC) were both looking to rebound from SEC losses on Thursday. Florida fell 1-0 to Mississippi State and Georgia lost 2-1 to Arkansas.

It’s the first scoreless draw between UF and UGA since 1995. Florida and Georgia went head to head Sunday for the 39th meeting. Georgia has not lost to Florida since 2018, including the 3-0 win against the Gators last year in Gainesville.

A One-Sided First Half

Florida came out in the first five minutes creating pressure for the Georgia backline and testing the Georgia goalkeeper with two shots on goal but weren’t able to put any away.

A few chances in the first five was all the opportunities the Gator offense saw in the first half. The momentum shifted to Georgia’s side as they dominated on offense and maintained possession for the majority of the first half.

Despite a lot of chances for the Bulldogs, Alexa Goldberg didn’t let anything get past her. A threatening chance for Georgia came in the 25th minute after a cross into Nicole Vernis bounced off the cross bar and was cleared out by the Gator defense.

It was the fingertips of Goldberg that kept the Gators and the Bulldogs even at the end of the first half. A shot from Georgia’s Summer Denigan in the 43rd minute forced Goldberg to fully extend herself to get a tip on the ball and push it over for a corner.

Despite what seemed to be a very one-sided half, both teams headed into the locker room even at 0-0. The Bulldogs led with eight shots compared to Florida’s two. Georgia had three corners in the first half but they weren’t able to convert on these chances.

At halftime, Gator head coach Samantha Bohon told announcers, “We have to be better with the ball, we got a little bit nervous and just started kicking it.”

Second Half Offensive Struggles

Despite a better performance from the Gators in the second half, both teams struggled offensively in the final 45 minutes. Georgia’s defense kept the Gators from getting a single shot off in the second half.  The Bulldogs recorded three shots with two on goal, but weren’t able to capitalize on these chances.

Georgia’s biggest chance came in the 81st minute when Vernis beat the Florida backline and went on a breakaway but was fouled by Daviana Vaka who received a yellow card following the foul. The Bulldogs were rewarded with a free kick right outside of the 18 yard box, but weren’t able to put it away.

The Gators struggled to create anything offensively all game. Florida found themselves defending most of the game which forced most of the attacking players to come back and help for the majority of the 90 minutes played. Because of this, when winning the ball, Florida had no one up the field to get anything going for the Gators.

Next Up

The Gators are back on the road on Thursday traveling to Arkansas to face the Razorbacks for another SEC match up. Florida has an opportunity to snap Arkansas 28-game unbeaten home streak that dates back to 2021.

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