Men’s Soccer: UConn hosts UCF, aims to get back on track

UConn comes up short in the game against Maryland on Monday Oct. 2. In nothing short of an intense game, The Terrapins held a steady lead throughout the game, beating the Huskies 3-2. (Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s soccer team will attempt to rebound from a tough loss when they take on American Athletic Conference foe UCF on Saturday night. The Huskies suffered an overtime loss to Boston College on Tuesday night despite leading 2-0 in the late stages of the match.

UConn (7-4-2, 4-0-0 the American) conceded two goals in the last 11 minutes of the match against the Eagles and gave up the game-winner in double overtime. The defeat was the Huskies’ second overtime loss this year and it marked the end of UConn’s streak of five wins in six games.

However, the Huskies are still undefeated in conference play, going 4-0 against American opponents this year and sitting alone at the top of the conference standings. In the only conference game at home this season, UConn defeated three-time reigning American champion Tulsa, 1-0.

UCF (3-5-2, 1-2-1 the American) beat that same Tulsa team 3-0 in their most recent game. The Knights’ home victory over Tulsa was their first conference win, previously falling to SMU and USF on the road before tying with Memphis at home.

The Knights started the season 1-5-1 but come into Friday’s game in good form, undefeated in their last three matches with an 8-1 goal differential and two wins. The three games in that stretch were all played at home.

UCF senior Matias Pyysalo leads the Knights in both goals and assists with eight and five, respectively. Pyysalo was named American Offensive Player of the Week on Monday for his performance in the 3-0 win over Tulsa. The senior scored two goals for the Knights and assisted on the third.

Sophomore Cal Jennings is second on the Knights with three goals scored despite only starting four of their 10 games. All three of Jennings’ goals have come during UCF’s recent three-game hot streak.

UConn owns a 7-1-1 record in the all-time series with UCF, but its only loss came in last year’s matchup with the Knights. The Huskies lost that game 2-1 on an overtime game-winner from Pyysalo, who also recorded an assist in the match.

Prior to their loss to Boston College, the Huskies received votes in the United Soccer Coaches Poll. In other polls, UConn was ranked No. 22 by Soccer America and No. 25 by TopDrawerSoccer.com.

The Huskies will try to get back to their winning ways and climb back into the polls Saturday night. Kickoff against the Knights will be at 7 p.m. at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium.


Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.