On Monday night, the University of Connecticut played Quinnipiac to a 0-0 draw in front of a sold out crowd of 5,100 fans at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. The Huskies tied St. Francis Brooklyn 0-0 in the season opener last Friday.
Struggling to find the net
For the second straight game, the Huskies were held to a scoreless draw, this time against Quinnipiac. Despite the lack of scoring, head coach Ray Reid isn’t worried that his team hasn’t scored a goal in the team’s first two games of the 2015 season.
Reid remains optimistic and knows that the goals will come.
“I think we were much better tonight,” Reid said. “St. Francis was very defensive, these guys started defensive but we could stretch them out. We moved the ball better; we were dangerous. To be honest with you, I feel a hell of a lot better than I did after St. Francis.”
On Monday against Quinnipiac (0-1-1), the Huskies had five shots in both the first and second half, but couldn’t break through. The chances were there for the Huskies, though.
UConn (0-0-2) had three quality chances to end the game, two in regulation and another in overtime, largely in part from the ability to get up and down the flanks.
The first came off a cross played on the ground from Abdou Thiam near the left byline. Nick Zuniga was able to get on the end of the cross and fire a shot at net but it was blocked by a herd of Quinnipiac defenders.
The second came off the foot of co-captain Kwame Awuah. Andrew Geres played the ball out wide to co-captain Jake Nerwinski, who then played the ball into Awuah in the air. Awuah took the ball down, but his shot from just 10 yards from goal went wide, missing the net completely.
“I opened up and I didn’t know how much time I had so I just hit a short swing as quick as possible,” Awuah said of the opportunity. “I didn’t really look up and that’s my fault I should have finished that and the game would have probably been over by then.”
The third, and UConn’s best chance in overtime, came in the second of two overtime periods. Bobcats’ goalie Triston Henry, who played at UConn last season, was caught off his line and freshman Fredrik Jonsson tried to chip him, but Henry made an incredible diving save to keep the game tied.
Senior Nick Zuniga had an opportunity with under five seconds remaining, but Henry made another great save.
Henry finished with six saves in his return to Storrs.
The Huskies had 12 corner kicks against St. Francis Brooklyn and five against Quinnipiac, but have yet to convert.
UConn finished with 12 shots on Monday night.
Jonsson, the striker Reid brought in to replace Cyle Larin, has yet to score and has only registered three shots. However, Reid noted in his press conference after the game that Larin scored one goal in his first nine games so he knows Jonsson will find his form.
“Give it some time, it’s coming,” Reid said.
Although it wasn’t the result – or the start to the season – that the Huskies hoped, given the youth of the team, Reid knows it will take time and said that he saw improvement on Monday.
“I think we made giant steps from Friday,” Reid said. “Look, there is an expectation here and the players know it. But I think we made giant steps.”
Freshman Moustapha Samb started Monday’s game at outside back in place of Dylan Greenberg, who left Friday’s season opener with a collarbone injury.
Although he wasn’t perfect, Reid thought that the freshman from Mbour, Senegal did well for his first collegiate start.
“I thought he did a good job, he isn’t coming forward as much yet because we have to get him into form and we have to get him organized out there,” Reid said. “But he won balls, he’s confident, he’s hard on the tackle.”
Samb finished the game with one shot on goal in his collegiate debut.
Elliot Ackroyd, the center back that played alongside Samb, also had high praise for the freshman’s performance.
“Moustapha played very well today,” Ackroyd said. “He was just settling into the team, it’s his first proper game with the team. He was solid defensively, no one got past him, he was winning headers.”
Samb now joins the UConn back line that hasn’t given up a goal since Oct. 25, 2014 against Southern Methodist (a total of 687 minutes).