After winning both games of a two-game road trip, the UConn Huskies men’s soccer team returns home this Saturday to take on the Cincinnati Bearcats under the lights at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in their third American Athletic Conference match of the year. The game will begin at 7 p.m., just hours after the two schools square off in a football game as well.
Cincinnati comes into the game with a 6-3-1 record on the year, and is undefeated in conference play with two wins in the American. The Bearcats are led by midfielder Adam Wilson, a sophomore from Scotland. Wilson has two goals and six assists on the year, and is the Bearcats’ primary offensive threat this season. His right-hand man on the attack is redshirt freshman Ryan Melink, who has taken 15 shots this year on the way to three goals and assist. Wilson and Melink dictate Cincinnati’s play game after game, so they will need to be stopped in order for UConn to be successful Saturday night.
On the other hand, the Huskies come into the game with an 8-3-0 record on the season, having won their last five games, including two conference wins against Temple and Tulsa, respectively. After being out of consideration in various national polls for the last couple weeks, UConn is now ranked No. 18 in the latest TopDrawerSoccer poll. The team also received 13 votes in the NCAA poll, but remains unranked.
Much of the Huskies’ recent success can be attributed to stout defense, especially from players like sophomore defenders Simen Olafsen and Jacob Hauser-Ramsey. If these two key players can limit the offensive threat and influence of the aforementioned Wilson and Melink, then UConn should come out of the weekend with their sixth consecutive win and ninth total win of the year.
This past Monday, Olafsen was selected as the American defensive player of the week, emphasizing how well the defense has been playing recently. Also on the conference weekly honor roll was goalkeeper Scott Levene, who has earned three consecutive clean sheets in the midst of UConn’s win streak.
Forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam was also named to the honor roll, after earning himself a goal and an assist over the last week, which brings his season totals to seven and two, respectively.
The Huskies haven’t scored more than a single goal in each of their last three games, but as long as Thiam can get on the board, the team should be all right. UConn has never lost in a game in which the forward from Dakar, Senegal, has scored.
Head coach Ray Reid will have the boys ready to play on both ends of the pitch, and if the Huskies play as well as they have in recent weeks, they should and will extend their win streak and remain the only undefeated team left in the conference.
Chris Hanna is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.