The UConn men’s soccer team (0-0-3) will play their first road game of the season Thursday afternoon against the Harvard Crimson (0-1-1) at 4 p.m. in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Huskies are coming off of their third straight scoreless draw of the season. Their last draw came against 2014 Ivy League Champion Dartmouth on Friday night. The Huskies have been in desperate need of some offensive production all season, and the team is starting to feel the pressure.
“When good players, especially good strikers, get opportunities but cannot finish, it lowers their confidence,” said UConn junior midfielder and co-captain Kwame Awuah. “We want it so bad. We just need composure in front of the net, and hopefully our strikers can put it in. At the end of the day, it is a results business, and 0-0 cannot happen in Storrs.”
UConn’s defense however has stepped up during this scoring drought. The Huskies have not given up a goal in 330 minutes of play this season. They have an overall streak of 797 shutout minutes dating back to the end of last season. The school’s all-time record for consecutive shutout minutes is 961 minutes.
“We haven’t let a goal up in 790 minutes,” UConn head coach Ray Reid said after Friday’s game against Dartmouth. “If that is 90 minutes a match, that is eight full matches. That is unheard of, especially with five freshmen on the field for 330 of them. So do not look at it half negative, look at it half positive. The goals will start to come. It is just a matter of time.”
Harvard also has not seen a win in the 2015 season. They are coming off a 2-2 draw against No. 23 Southern Methodist University on Sunday. UConn’s goalkeeper Scott Levene will need to shutdown the Crimson in the box if the Huskies continue to struggle to find the net.
“If you don’t give up any goals, then you don’t lose,” Levene said. “We have three or four people on the backline that are veterans. There is experience back there. Experience helps bring the pressure down. I do not think there is any pressure on us. We are just going to continue to do what we are doing and the goals will come. I am sure of that.”
Thursday’s match at Soldiers’ Field Soccer Stadium will be the 30th meeting between the two programs. The Huskies won the last outing 6-0 in 2012, and they lead the all-time series 15-8.
Eddie Leonard is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering UConn men’s soccer. He tweets @EddieLeonard23.