No. 22/25 UConn men’s soccer could not come back from early deficit in 3-2 home loss to Central Florida.
The loss is the first in the American for the Huskies this season, after a 4-0 start to conference play. Despite this, UConn is still tied for first place in the American with SMU, with the Mustangs ahead on the tiebreaker.
The Knights opened the scoring in the third minute on a goal from Cal Jennings. UConn had chances of their own throughout the first half, but could not even the scoreline.
After the first half, the Huskies had outshot UCF 5-4 and also had more corner kicks leading 5-3 but, as has been the case this season, could not capitalize on their chances.
In the second half, UCF were able to double their lead early as Matias Pyysalo was able to get the ball past redshirt senior Scott Levene in the 54th minute.
In the 57th minute, redshirt junior Dylan Greenberg was able to pull one back for the Huskies. After a foul on the right edge of the 18-yard box, Greenberg released a spectacular left-footed bender into the goal.
Shortly after, freshman Nicholas Apostol was brought down in the penalty box, but despite a penalty plea, there was no call on the play.
Despite the attempted comeback, in the 72nd minute UCF added to their lead as Jennings scored his second of the day.
The Huskies did not give up, and in the 78th minute once again brought the deficit to one. After a passing exchange with freshman Austin DaSilva, freshman Josh Burnett nutmegged a UCF player, before defeating the goalie one-on-one to bring the score to 3-2.
In the end, UConn could not tie things up despite once again outshooting the Knights in the second half, 7-5.
One positive of the night for the Huskies is that players besides Abdou Mbacke Thiam chipped in on offense. Thiam has scored half of the team’s goals this season and has also chipped in two assists. Greenberg’s score tonight was the first in his three seasons for the Huskies, while Burnett nabbed his second goal on the season.
Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.