The UConn men’s soccer team won its third straight American Athletic Conference game on Saturday night, defeating Cincinnati to remain undefeated in conference play. Abdou Mbacke Thiam sent home the game-winner in the 79th minute to give the Huskies a 1-0 victory.
UConn (6-3-2, 3-0-0 the American) bounced back nicely after a loss to No. 1/3 Maryland last week. Before the loss to the top-ranked Terrapins, the Huskies had won three straight games and were undefeated in their last six.
Thiam’s goal was his seventh of the season, easily the most of any other Husky. The junior captain has now scored five game-winning goals this season, tied for the most in Division I.
The game-winner against Cincinnati was assisted by freshman Austin DaSilva. With UConn on the counterattack, DaSilva played a ball over the top of the Bearcats’ defense and Thiam finished. The assist was DaSilva’s second of the year, tying him for second place on the team.
Cincinnati (5-5-1, 0-3-0 the American) actually outshot the first-place Huskies 11 to eight and held a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks. The Bearcats sit at the bottom of the American standings but managed to compete with UConn.
The Huskies had an opportunity to score early in the game when they were awarded a penalty kick in the 11th minute. Freshman Blaise N’Gague was chosen to take the kick after converting a penalty kick last game against Maryland for his first career goal. This time, Cincinnati goalkeeper Pearce Skinner made a diving save on N’Gague to keep the game scoreless.
Two minutes after the saved penalty kick, Cincinnati hit the crossbar on a free kick. UConn redshirt senior goalkeeper Scott Levene made four saves in the first half and added two more in the second half for a total of six.
There were 28 fouls in the match and the physical play resulted in five yellow cards. UConn midfielder Munir Saleh and defender Nkosi Burgess each earned yellow cards for the Huskies.
UConn freshman Jarod Riedl, a native of New Milford, Connecticut, started on Saturday night in the midfield. Riedl had not played a single minute this season before this start.
The Huskies will take on USF in their next match on Friday. The Bulls are also 3-0-0 in conference play, tied for first place with UConn. Friday’s match could be crucial in determining the American regular season champion.
Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.