Men's Soccer: UConn loses another lead in overtime draw

Munir Saleh (14) possesses the ball in Saturday's tie agaisnt North Florida. (Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

The game was in our hands! I mean, we fell apart at the seams.
— Head coach Ray Reid

Once again, junior captain Abdou Mbacke Thiam tried his best to carry the UConn men’s soccer team on his back. Thiam scored two goals less than a minute apart in the first half of Saturday night’s match against North Florida. The forward led the team with five shots and set up several quality chances throughout the match.

“Look, I’m the first guy to criticize Abdou [Mbacke Thiam]. Abdou was brilliant tonight,” said UConn head coach Ray Reid. “He wants to have a good year this year and I think he has finally learned after two years of heartache, some of these guys still haven’t learned.”

The two goals were Thiam’s third and fourth of the season, easily leading the team over freshman Austin DaSilva, who has UConn’s only other goal.

However, Thiam’s performance didn’t translate into a win for the Huskies. UConn settled for a 2-2 draw in double overtime, their second tie of the past three games despite the early 2-0 lead.

“The game was in our hands! I mean, we fell apart at the seams,” Reid said.

UConn (2-2-2) played its fourth overtime match of the season, going 1-1-2 in those games. Only two of the Huskies’ games this year have ended in regulation. Last year, just four of UConn’s 19 games went to overtime and the Huskies went 1-2-1 in those games.

Last Saturday, UConn settled for a 1-1 draw against then-No. 18 Georgetown after the Huskies took the lead early in the game. While two draws are certainly not the worst thing for UConn, Reid’s team led in both games but could not finish their opponent off.

“We should’ve put the game away in the first half,” Reid said, after the draw against North Florida. “We let them stick around and gave them a terrible goal a minute in [to the second half].”

Not to be overlooked after a couple of recently blown leads for UConn is the goal-scoring. The struggling Huskies’ offense scored one combined goal in the first three games of the season, but they have come alive for the past three games with four more goals.

With the goals starting to come, redshirt senior goalkeeper Scott Levene says there’s one thing left for the Huskies.

“The toughest part of the game is one, scoring, and two, learning how to win,” Levene said.

UConn will get their next chance to win next Saturday when they make their first road trip of the year. The Huskies will take on Temple in the first American Athletic Conference game of the season.


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