Men’s Soccer: UConn opens up conference play at home

The Huskies will open up conference play against Temple on Friday. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Coming off of a 2-1 win on the road against University of Rhode Island, the UConn Huskies men’s soccer team returns home to Joseph J. Morrone Stadium on Saturday night to play its first American Athletic Conference game of the year against the Temple Owls.

The Huskies have been very successful against Temple in recent years, having beaten the Owls in four of their last five matchups and outscoring them 15-2 over that span. Most recently, UConn defeated Temple in the 2015 American Athletic Conference quarterfinals by a score of 4-0. The Huskies also beat Temple in the quarterfinals of the 2014 conference tournament by an even better score of 5-0. Without a doubt, head coach Ray Reid would love to see a result like that again as the team begins conference play.

UConn should and will be successful in this matchup as long as they can generate multiple goals. The Huskies have been shutout in each of their three losses, but have scored at least two goals in each of the team’s wins. In fact, UConn has scored twice as many goals as its opponents this season, averaging 1.75 goals per game while allowing only 0.88 goals per game. This number also speaks to the Huskies’ defensive capability when the team gets on the board, as the defense and goalkeeper Scott Levene haven’t allowed more than two goals in a game yet this season. So as long as the offense can generate an attack, the Huskies will have a chance at the win.

Leading the Husky attack is Senegalese forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam, who has five goals in six games played this year. His primary suppliers of the ball are captain Kwame Awuah, who has five assists on the season (T-3rd in nation), and winger Andrew Geres, who has been quite the play maker for the Huskies in just five appearances this year.

Temple enters the matchup with a 5-2 record on the season, having most recently defeated Fairfield last Saturday by a score of 4-0. The Owls’ best player is unquestionably senior midfielder Jorge Gomez Sanchez, who has scored an outstanding nine goals in seven games this year, to go along with three assists. Another key contributor for Temple is Finnish forward Joonas Jokinen, who has tallied three goals and five assists on the year. If the Huskies’ defense can keep these two players in check, then the team should be able to keep the win streak against Temple alive.


Chris Hanna is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu.