USF (#128, 5-6-2) will take on USD (#49, 7-5-1) under the lights of Negoesco Stadium on Saturday with an opportunity to knock down the WCC leader.
While USD is ranked higher than USF by over 50 slots, USF has a favored opportunity to tighten the rankings and even up their record.
Though USD holds a better overall record than USF, USD’s wins are due to home field advantage: their record at home 6-2-1, while their road record lacks at 1-3-0.
Meanwhile, USF’s lower record is a product of 2 additional road games: at home USF is 3-2-1 while on the road USF has been 2-3-1.
With home field to USF’s advantage, what could go wrong?
Enter #10 Patrick Wallen.
Wallen, USD’s 6’2’’ and 185 lb starting striker, has been called “a beast” to opponents by USD’s Head Coach Seamus McFadden and could pose a threat to USF’s defense that averages approximately 5’11 1/4’’ and 165 lbs.
Wallen, who is originally from Vasteras, Sweden, was recruited by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Washington, UC Santa Barbara, and Wake Forrest all of which are top soccer schools in the nation.
He was the WCC Freshman of the Year in 2009 and made the 1st team All-WCC honors because he was a team leader in accumulating 19 points and scoring 7 goals, one of which was a game winner against USF.
In his second season, he showed the same stats and received the same awards for dominating the WCC in goals and game-winning goals.
According to McFadden in an interview with reporter Olivia Martinez in The Vista, Wallen’s best quality is his size and his physicality as a player.
As Wallen’s counterpart, Miguel Aguilar is excited to play against Wallen though he does not know what to expect yet. “ I’m mostly excited,” Aguilar said. “It’s a challenge to see how I will stack up.”
USF is not intimidated by the size and physicality of Wallen and expects to expose weaknesses in his game. “Nobodies unstoppable,” Aguilar said. “You just have to find a way to stop them.”