Men’s Soccer: Thiam’s lone goal enough to down Dartmouth

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Steffen Yeates pushes the ball upfield against Dartmouth on Sept 8. (Charlotte Lao/ The Daily Campus)

The Huskies beat Dartmouth College 1-0 on Saturday night in a game where UConn’s opportunities came a dime a dozen, but Dartmouth’s keeper Chris Palacios didn’t seem to see a shot that he couldn’t save. That is, until the minute 79 when a high cross off of the strong and accurate boot of Dayonn Harris found Abdou Mbacke Thiam’s dome, leading to a shot finally
getting by Palacios. This win brings UConn’s record up to 3-2-0, while Dartmouth falls to 0-3-0.

“I know from training this week that we’ve been working on getting crosses in and making sure we got guys in the box,” Harris said. “So, I just wanted to get a really good ball in and I knew that Abdou was going to be there to finish it.”

Getting crosses to guys in the box certainly was UConn’s plan all game. As a result, UConn had a lot of good looks at the goal, many of which seemed like they were going to be goals. The Huskies took five shots in the first half and a whopping nine in the second. Of those fourteen shots, eight of them were on the goal.

“He [Palacios] made some good saves. I don’t think we finished poorly tonight,” coach Ray Reid said. “I thought the keeper made some saves. Give the keeper credit, I thought our guys did a good job of creating chances. I thought we were much more clinical with the finish tonight. A lot of them just didn’t go in.”

Palacios saved seven UConn shots over the course of the game. During the minute 72 alone, UConn ripped three shots on the Dartmouth goal with all three getting saved by Palacios. In minute 64, UConn forward Ibrahima Diop ripped a beautiful looking laser to the top right corner of Dartmouth’s goal, but Palacios made an impressive play on the ball to send it over the crossbar.

On the other side of the ball, UConn’s defense did a spectacular job of neutralizing all of Dartmouth’s offensive possessions, leading to their second shutout of the season. The Huskies were able to dominate time of possession, which is a common theme in their more successful games. Dartmouth was only able to muster one shot in the first half and seven for the whole
game. Just three of those shots were on goal.

Another common theme in UConn’s past wins was that they have all happened at home. The Huskies are a perfect 3-0 at home and an imperfect 0-2 away from Morrone Stadium.

“Every time we play at home, the fans give us more energy,” senior and captain Thiam said.

“Especially at the ending of the game when we’re tired, they [the fans] just give us that extra push,” Harris said.

The games aren’t going to get any easier either.

“We’re in a tough stretch. We have Rhode Island, Akron, BC [Boston College], and South Florida,” Reid said. “We are stretching these guys this year because of the conference that we’re in. These guys know what they can do when they want to play.”

As Reid mentioned, UConn’s next game will be against URI. Rhode Island is off to an amazing start to their season, sporting a 5-0-0 record. What’s even more impressive is that they haven’t surrendered a goal all season and are outscoring opponents 12-0 this season. UConn will have to take a page out of their gameplan from Saturday’s victory and try racking up as many scoring opportunities as possible. They will play Tuesday night at 7 p.m., where the Huskies will try to extend their record at home to 4-0.


Sean Janos is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at sean.janos@uconn.edu.

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