Men’s Soccer: Thiam calms storm, leads Huskies to 1-1 draw


UConn freshman forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam fights for the ball during the Huskies’ game against the Rams at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Connecticut on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Thiam’s game-tying goal with one-second left in regulation helped the Huskies secure a draw Saturday against Tulsa. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s soccer team (5-5-5) tied the Tulsa Hurricane (6-6-3) Saturday 1-1 in their final regular season road game after freshman forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam buried the game-tying goal with one-second left in regulation.

Thiam received a pass from junior co-captain Kwame Awuah from about six yards out with around five seconds on the clock before the freshman quickly rifled a quick shot to the near post as the clock hit 89:59.

The last second goal forced two ten-minute overtime periods. However, neither team was able to find the back of the net and the game ended in a draw.

Thiam’s equalizer was his fourth goal in the last three games. He was able to notch two against Temple last Wednesday. He leads the team with seven goals on the year.

“He’s starting to get better. We know he’s very talented. He’s adjusted to being in America, he’s adjusted to having two games a week, four practices a week,” UConn head coach Ray Reid said last week. “He’s making his improvements and we know he’s going to be a good one for us.”

The Hurricane held a 1-0 lead for the majority of the second half after sophomore Geoffrey Dee recorded his fourth goal of the year on a rocket from 20 yards out.

The Huskies had a couple opportunities to tie the game before the Thiam miracle. Senior forward Tyler Leeman scored what could have been the game-tying goal in the 60th minute, but the Huskies were called offside. Thiam even had another opportunity in the 81st minute, but his bicycle kick sailed over the crossbar.

Saturday’s tie moves the Huskies to a 2-0-2 all-time record against Tulsa. Both programs are now tied for third place in the American Athletic Conference with eight points a piece through seven matches.    

“I sense that it’s coming with this group. Training has been great the last three weeks,” Reid said last week. “We have a young team, so we have to teach them how to train, about the environment and culture (at UConn).  The last three weeks it’s been a lot better. We have got to start burying chances. It’s a very simple thing. We’ve had plenty of chances; we’ve been dangerous. We just have to take advantage of it.

UConn will be back home on Tuesday, Oct. 27, to host Yale at 7 p.m.

Eddie Leonard is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering UConn men’s soccer. He tweets @EddieLeonard23.

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