The UConn men’s soccer team (4-5-4) begins their final road trip of the season Wednesday afternoon against the Temple Owls (9-4-2) after a thrilling 2-1 victory over UCF on Saturday night.
Saturday’s win was UConn’s first conference victory of their 2015 campaign. UConn freshman forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam gave the Huskies an early 1-0 lead at the 42nd minute mark. UCF midfielder Mason Miller would retaliate with the equalizer 16 minutes later, off a corner kick from teammate Matias Pyysalo.
However, the hero of the night was UConn junior co-captain Jake Nerwinski. Nerwinski tallied the game winning goal for the Huskies in the 79th minute off a corner kick from fellow co-captain Kwame Awuah.
“We scored a great first goal,” said UConn head coach Ray Reid. “We battled back and we worked hard and we also scored a brilliant second goal. We needed it.”
The Owls enter Wednesday’s match fresh off a 2-0 loss to Tulsa on Saturday. The Owls currently sit in last place in the AAC with a (1-4) record in conference play. However they have played extremely well at home this season, holding down a 6-0 record at Ambler Sports Complex.
Wednesday’s game will be the fourth-ever meeting between the two programs in a series that dates back to 2013. The Huskies crushed the Owls, 5-0, in their last meeting in the American Quarterfinals on Nov. 8, 2014. Five different Huskies scored in that match.
Wednesday’s match is an important conference game for the Huskies. UConn is in sixth place in the AAC standings, trailing both Memphis and Cincinnati by one game in the loss column.
“We have to be tough on the road, mentally and physically,” said Reid. “We have to go down there and grind this thing out. This year we have played pretty well. We just have had a little bad luck. We have to make our own luck and be a little tougher.”
UConn’s offense will need to produce goals like they did Saturday night in order to help out Scott Levene and the defense if they hope to leave with a victory. The Huskies are 3-0 this season when they score multiple goals, while their defense has held opponents to one goal or less in eleven of the last 13 games.
Kickoff at Ambler Sports Complex is set for 3 p.m.
Eddie Leonard is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering UConn men's soccer. He tweets @EddieLeonard23.