After a difficult loss to SMU on Sunday, the UConn men’s soccer team will look to wrap up the regular season with a victory at Tulsa on Friday night. The Huskies currently sit in third place in the American Athletic Conference, and while it’s a longshot, they could still wind up with the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament—but they must take care of business against the Golden Hurricane.
Currently ranked No. 20 in the United Soccer Coaches poll, UConn (10-3-2, 3-1-2 The American) sits two points behind conference co-leaders No. 9 UCF and SMU. That means with a UConn victory and losses from both UCF and SMU, the Huskies will jump into first place. However, with UCF taking on last-place Cincinnati (3-13-3), it’s unlikely.
All the Huskies can do is control Friday’s game against a beatable Tulsa (5-9-2, 1-5 The American) team which has especially struggled in conference play, having only beaten Cincy.
“We’re well prepared,” head coach Ray Reid said on his team’s ability to recover from a tough defeat. “We’ve played a good schedule this year, our guys have done a good job.We’re going to bounce back from this.”
The six-team field for the American Athletic Conference tournament has been solidified, with USF, Memphis and Temple rounding out the group. Each of the top four teams are within two points, and the seeding is still very much up in the air heading into the season finales.
Tulsa has been eliminated from postseason contention, but will look to play spoiler against the Huskies. The Golden Hurricane are coming off a 0-1 defeat to Temple, and while they’ll have home field advantage Friday, they’ve actually been a stronger road team this season than at home.
Sophomore midfielder Chase Bromstedt is the chief orchestrator of the Tulsa attack, leading the team with 12 points on three goals and six assists. Forward Gilles Kuhler has been one of the most productive freshmen in the league this year, notching four goals and an assist, and earning conference rookie of the week twice.
Statistically, the Golden Hurricane are a middle-of-the-pack defensive team, though those numbers are boosted by some solid goalie play throughout the season. Tulsa keepers Cooper Clark and Bryson Reed have split time pretty evenly this season, and together they’ve made more saves than any team in the conference.
The last time UConn lost, it followed it up with a ten-game unbeaten streak. The Huskies will look to bounce back in similar fashion, beginning with Tulsa on Friday at 8 p.m. in Oklahoma.