For the third straight game to start the 2015 season, the UConn men’s soccer team had trouble finding the back of the net.
The opportunities were present, but it was following through on those opportunities that caused the Huskies trouble.
In a result that is getting all too familiar for UConn fans, the Huskies played Dartmouth to a 0-0 tie in front of 3,557 at Morrone Stadium on Friday night.
It is the first time since 1985 that UConn opened its season with three straight ties. The Huskies tied St. Francis Brooklyn in thier opener and Quinnipiac in their second game.
“This is a process," head coach Ray Reid said after Friday’s match. "Am I happy? These guys will tell you I'm not happy. But look, every team that plays us, especially here, it is like a World Cup final, and right now they smell red meat because we're air tight defensively. [Goalkeeper] Scott Levene is doing everything possible in the goal, and they know the goals are hard to come by. The goals will start to come. It is just a matter of time. Our team has got to stay focused."
As concerning as not scoring the goals may be, the Huskies have another impressive streak going on. The UConn defense has not given up a goal in seven games (797 minutes).
The last goal UConn (0-0-3) conceded was Oct. 25, 2014 against SMU.
After the game, Reid wanted to talk about the defensive rather than offensive streak that his team has going.
"We haven't let up a goal in 790 minutes; we haven't let up a goal in 790 minutes. That's unheard of with five freshmen on the field for the last 330 of them," Reid said. "Don't look at it half negative. Look at half positive."
But you cannot win games if you do not score. And UConn is having trouble doing so.
Perhaps UConn’s best chance on Friday came with 23 minutes remaining. Abdou Thiam sent a cross from the left wing into the box that found the head of teammate Alex Sanchez. His header was saved on the goal line by Dartmouth goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland.
Dartmouth, winners of the Ivy League last season, had its best opportunity with 13 minutes left in the second half. After a nice combination play between Alberto Gorini and Eduvie Ikoba, Gorini found himself in alone with Levene.
Gorini’s shot was destined for the left corner, but Levene made an incredible kick save to keep the game scoreless.
“The kid broke through and I think the fact that it was on his left foot kind of helped me. And I was able to get in a good position and save the ball.”
Dartmouth (0-0-1) had a chance on the rebound attempt, but Amadu Kunateh shot the ball over the crossbar.
In the first overtime period, Dartmouth had a few chances on goal, but Levene kept them scoreless.
In the second overtime period, co-captain Kwame Awuah had a great second chance opportunity at the top of the 18-yard box, but his shot was blocked by his own teammate, Simon Olafsen, in front of the net.
"We might be creating more chances in these first three games than last year and the year before," Reid said. "[That shot] may have been going in the goal."
UConn will have a chance to end its scoreless streak on Thursday evening when they will travel to Harvard for their first road game of the season.
“I don’t think there is any pressure on us,” Levene said. “We’re just going to continue to do what we’re doing and the goals will come. I’m sure of that.”