Men’s Soccer: Defending American champs visit Storrs

Defender Dylan Greenberg hugs his teammate after scoring a goal in UConn's 1-0 defeat of Providence on Tuesday, Sept. 26. UConn will take on defending conference champions Tulsa tonight. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Defender Dylan Greenberg hugs his teammate after scoring a goal in UConn's 1-0 defeat of Providence on Tuesday, Sept. 26. UConn will take on defending conference champions Tulsa tonight. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

During the last game in 2016, the UConn men’s soccer team fell to Tulsa in the American Athletic Conference Semifinals. The loss ended the Huskies’ season and their chance at an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament.

On Friday night, UConn will get their first chance at revenge. The Huskies will host the Golden Hurricane in an important conference matchup, with both teams coming into the game tied atop the American standings at 1-0.

UConn (4-2-2, 1-0-0 the American) is in the midst of a tough stretch, playing four games in 10 days. This will be the third of those four games, coming off victories over Temple and Providence. Junior forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam scored the game-winner in each of those games and has now scored five goals in the past four matches.

After the matchup with Tulsa, the Huskies will welcome No. 3 Maryland to Storrs on Monday night. Head coach Ray Reid is focused on making sure his team is ready for a crucial conference game and not looking forward to the national powerhouse Terrapins.

”Only Tulsa. Only Tulsa,” Reid said. “Tulsa’s a league game. We only have three home games. The points are critical.”

Tulsa (3-3-1, 1-0 the American) defeated then-No. 19 SMU 1-0 in overtime their last time out, ending a two-game losing streak to nonconference opponents. The Golden Hurricane are 2-2-0 on the road this season, including a 2-0 upset victory over then-No. 1 Stanford.

In the win over Stanford, senior midfielder Rollie Rocha converted on two penalty kicks to provide both of Tulsa’s goals. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Marcel Da Silva made six saves in the game to preserve the upset.

Rocha leads the Golden Hurricane with three goals and seven points. Redshirt sophomore forward Miguel Velasquez has gotten off a team-leading 20 shots but has only converted one goal.

Tulsa started freshman goalkeeper Cooper Clark in net for the first two games of the season but quickly moved on after he gave up two goals in each game. Da Silva has started all five games since going 3-2 with 27 saves as the Golden Hurricane’s starting keeper.

In last year’s regular season matchup, the Huskies were able to sneak by Tulsa 1-0 on the back of a goal from Andrew Geres. UConn conceded an 11-1 shot deficit in the second half of that game but managed to hold on for the win thanks to five saves from goalkeeper Scott Levene.

Tulsa has won each of the past three American championships. Since joining the American in 2013, UConn has a 2-2-1 record against the Golden Hurricane.

Friday night’s newest edition in the rivalry will kick off 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.