After various poor performances at home, UConn men’s soccer got a much needed win on the road against American Athletic Conference rival Temple (6-0-3, 0-0-1 American).
Junior captain Abdou Mbacke Thiam and sophomore Niko Petridis scored as the Huskies (3-2-2, 1-0-0 American) sealed their first conference win of the season.
The win was vital for the team after coming off of a disappointing 2-2 tie with North Florida that saw the Huskies blow a two-goal lead.
Thiam nabbed the first goal of the game in the 26th minute off a Munir Saleh pass. The goal is Thiam’s fifth of the season. As was the case last season, the Huskies have relied heavily on the junior, as Thiam has been involved in six of the team’s seven goals.
The Owls threw everything they had at UConn as they sought to tie the match. Temple had a 7-1 edge in corner kicks and outshot the Huskies 14-7.
Redshirt senior Scott Levene was a major factor in the Huskies holding onto their lead as the Owls attempted to mount a comeback. Levene had a season-high seven saves on the night, which also tied his career-high for saves in a match. The goalie also led the team to their third shutout of the season.
After dealing with the Owls’ attack in the 80th minute, the Huskies sealed the game with Petridis’ first goal of 2017 on a breakaway opportunity. Senior Alex Kao and freshman Austin DaSilva were credited with assists on the play.
With the win, the Huskies continued their dominance against Temple improving the all-time series record to 6-0-3. The win also improves UConn’s record in American openers to 2-2-1.
The match got chippy between the conference rivals as four yellow cards were distributed throughout the match. In total, the Huskies and Owls combined for 32 fouls.
The Huskies return to action on Tuesday when they face Providence at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. The match against the Friars kicks off a three-match homestand for the Huskies that will also see them face conference foe Tulsa and No. 3 Maryland. UConn has struggled at home this season despite historically playing well in Storrs
Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.