The high expectations placed on the No. 24 UConn men’s soccer team for the 2017 season may have to be substantially lowered. On Friday night at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium, the Huskies suffered an upset loss in double overtime to Iona.
Head coach Ray Reid did not attend the scheduled post-game press conference.
After 107 minutes of scoreless action, Iona broke through. With two minutes left in the second overtime period, Iona’s Josh Plimpton managed to put a loose ball into the back of the net.
It was the first game of the year for UConn and they were unable to find their first goal in the 1-0 defeat. It certainly wasn’t because of a lack of chances; the Huskies outshot the Gaels 12-5 and possessed the ball for much of the game. UConn also had 10 corner kick opportunities to Iona’s one.
The best chance of the night came in the 48th minute, when UConn sophomore Niko Petridis drew a foul in the box. Abdou Mbacke Thiam took the ensuing penalty shot, but it was saved by Iona goalkeeper Kellar Sirstins.
Thiam ripped seven shots in the game, including two shots on goal, but could not score his first goal of the season. Junior transfer Dayonn Harris saw plenty of minutes in his first action with the Huskies, starting alongside Thiam at forward and recording three shots.
Iona’s best chance in regulation came in the 41st minute, but Thiam helped out defensively and cleared a ball on the goal line to preserve the scoreless tie. UConn goalkeeper Scott Levene only made one save in the game.
The match became a little chippy during the tightly contested second half. UConn defenseman Dylan Greenberg and Iona’s Humbert Ferrer both received yellow cards in the half.
There were several Huskies getting their first action in the game. In addition to Harris, Blaise N’gague and Josh Burnett started in the first game of their UConn careers. N’gague had an opportunity to score in the 13th minute but his shot sailed just over the crossbar. Both freshmen appeared to adjust well to the pace of the collegiate game.
The Huskies will try to rebound from the tough loss when they welcome Quinnipiac to Storrs on Monday night at 7 p.m. at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. The last time these two teams met, they played to a scoreless draw at UConn in 2015.
Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org