Men's Soccer: Huskies prepare for conference leader SMU

UConn junior midfielder Kwame Awuah dribbles away from a Rhode Island player during the Huskies' game against the Rams at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Connecticut on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s soccer team (3-3-4) will go on the road this weekend to take on the American Conference leader SMU Mustangs (8-2-2) Saturday at 8 p.m. 

The Huskies enter Saturday’s game fresh off their fifth overtime game of the season against Cincinnati. The Bearcats and Huskies were locked at one goal a piece for 110 minutes of play. UConn’s Abdou Mbacke Thiam was the highlight of the night. Thiam sniped a top-left corner penalty kick goal in the 27th minute of play. 

“For the most part, we did everything we have to do. It’s just extremely frustrating (to not get the win),” said UConn head coach Ray Reid. “We handed them a goal. It was the only chance (Cincinnati) had all night. I thought we played well, really well. Kwame (Awuah) had a sitter in overtime, Abdou (Thiam) had a sitter in overtime.”

The young UConn defense has held strong this season despite the absence of players like Dylan Greenberg. Not capitalizing on scoring opportunities, however, has proven to be the reoccurring nightmare for UConn midfielders and strikers. 

“We should’ve been up by more than a goal at the half,” said Reid. “That causes us problems. This has been our Achilles Heel all year, where we should be leading by more at the half. We’re just not mature enough to get that second goal to finish off a team.”

The Huskies will need to produce on the offensive end this weekend if they want to compete with that high-powered Mustang offense. SMU is averaging 1.92 goals per game and they have scored at least one goal in eleven of their twelve games this season. UConn, on the other hand, has only scored in five of their ten games this season. 

The Mustangs also have been solid at home this year. They enter Saturday with a (6-1-1) record at Westcott Field. However Reid’s Huskies have had a lot of success against SMU in the past. UConn holds an all-time 6-1 record against the Mustangs, the last game being in 2014 when the Huskies won a 1-0 match. 

SMU’s most recent win came on the road against the Memphis Tigers.  The 3-1 victory propelled the Mustangs to a 3-0 record in conference play. SMU’s overall point leader Mauro Cichero secured the win for the Mustangs when he scored his seventh goal of the season in the 63rd minute of play. 

“It was a good team performance and we are happy to take full points,” said SMU head coach Kevin Hudson. “We now have to stay focused for another tough match against UConn on Saturday.”  

UConn will look to record their first win since Sept. 19 against Rhode Island when they take the field in Dallas on Saturday.


Eddie Leonard is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He tweets@EddieLeonard23.