The UConn men’s soccer team will travel to Florida to play South Florida in their first conference game of the season on Saturday.
UConn (3-1-3) enters conference play immediately after suffering their first loss of the season on the road to Boston College Wednesday. UConn redshirt sophomore midfielder Alex Sanchez had the lone highlight for the Huskies with his first career goal. The Huskies were outscored by a final count of 3-1 at Chestnut Hill. The loss broke UConn’s 13-match unbeaten streak.
USF (5-2-0) faces a Huskies team that has dominated conference play since joining the American. They hold a 10-1-1 record in the American, winning the 2014 regular season title. UConn, however, has endured some growing pains on the offensive end this season. Junior captain Kwame Awuah has continued to preach that the team needs to remain focused and worry about the goals later.
“When good players, especially good strikers, get opportunities but cannot finish, it lowers the confidence,” Awuah said. “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.”
UConn head coach Ray Reid agreed with his captain and has repeatedly told his team to keep their heads up.
“Do not look at it half negative, look at it half positive,” Reid said. “The goals will start to come. It is just a matter of time.”
Saturday’s match will be the 14th meeting between the Huskies and the Bulls. UConn currently holds a 9-1-3 record in the series. Nonetheless, USF is not an opponent to be taken lightly.
The Bulls are undefeated this season, led by their dynamic offense. Nine different USF players have notched a goal this season. They are very versatile on the offense end and will be an excellent test to the young UConn defense.
“We have three or four people on the backline that are veterans,” UConn goalkeeper Scott Levene said. “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.”
The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at Corbett Soccer Stadium.
Eddie Leonard is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering UConn men’s soccer. He tweets @EddieLeonard23.