Men’s Soccer: Huskies look to Samb to replace injured defender Greenberg

Freshman defender Mamadou Moustapha Samb (right) dribbles the ball during the Huskies' game against Quinnipiac on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. Samb, who replaced fellow defender Dylan Greenberg after the latter suffered a collarbone injury, is expected to take Greenberg's place in the starting 11 moving forward. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s soccer team may be without starting sophomore defender Dylan Greenberg for the rest of the season after he sustained a broken collarbone eight minutes into the season opener.

The degree of Greenberg’s injury however has not yet been confirmed. Greenberg posted on Instagram Saturday that he would miss the remainder of the season. The post has since been removed and UConn head coach Ray Reid did not have many words about it after Monday’s game against Quinnipiac.  

“I do not know what he posted,” Reid said. “I do not know why he posted it. I am not the medical staff. I will find out shortly, but I do not know why he posted it.” 

Freshman Mamadou Moustapha Samb replaced Greenberg in the starting lineup during Monday’s game against Quinnipiac.

Reid said he was pleased with how effective Samb was in minimizing the Bobcat offensive pressure during the game.

“I thought he did a good job,” Reid said. “We still have to get him into form and get him organized, but he won balls, he was confident, and he was hard on the tackle.”

Samb, however, still has big shoes to fill in the backfield despite his aggressive play on Monday. Greenberg started all 19 games for the Huskies last year, while being named to the American Athletic Conference All-Rookie Team. However Reid is confident Samb can help repair the Husky defense because he was already planning on him to step up before the Greenberg injury.

“I am going to be honest with you,” Reid said. “I said this two weeks ago before Dylan got hurt, Moustapha is going to be the left back and Greenberg is going to be in the midfield next year. He was brilliant tonight. He still has to get fitter, but for the first time in front of a crowd of 5,200, he did alright. He is athletic, tough on the tackle, and good in the air.”

Elliott Ackroyd, the center back on Samb’s side of the field, also had high praise for the freshman.

“Moustapha played very well,” Ackroyd said. “He was solid defensively, no one got passed him, and he was winning headers in the air. I thought overall he played really well.”

There have been some positives for UConn this season despite not being able to score for the first 220 minutes. One of them being that they also have not given up a goal in 220 minutes. Reid emphasized that goalkeeping has been a big factor so far this season. 

“If Scott Levene can control the box like he did tonight, he will be the goalkeeper at Connecticut for the next three years,” Reid said. “We have a lot of new guys but I think we have made giant steps since Friday.”

The Huskies will need solid performances out of Samb and the defense going forward until they know the extent of Greenberg’s injury. They have had strong performances so far but the season is just getting started.

The new UConn defense will face its next test Friday when they host Dartmouth at 7 p.m. at Morrone Stadium.  


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