The UConn men’s soccer team notched its fourth win of the season on Saturday night in dramatic fashion, defeating Loyola Maryland, 3-2. Abdou Mback Thiam was the hero once again, scoring all three of UConn’s goals, including the game-winner for his first hat trick of the season.
“I’ve been doing this for thirty years. [Thiam] is as good as they get, and he’s a better person,” said head coach Ray Reid. “He’s had no easy life, and this guy is a winner in every sense of the word.”
UConn (4-2) was originally supposed to play Akron on the road, but the game was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence. Instead, they stayed home and challenged Loyola (3-2) in front of another energized Huskies crowd.
“In this kind of game, I knew I was going to have one chance and I just needed to get it done,” Thiam said after the victory.
Loyola took an early lead only seven minutes in on a goal from Brian Saramago. UConn equalized in the 28th minute on Thiam’s first goal of the night, a header from a cross from Dayonn Harris. That duo worked together similarly for their last game-winner against Dartmouth.
“We let up that first goal, and I thought we showed great resiliency,” Reid said. “In the second half, we took over the game.”
It remained knotted at 1-1 until the 76th minute, when Thiam followed up a blocked shot from Cole Venner to take the lead. However, it was short-lived, as the Greyhounds tied it up on a set piece four minutes later.
The first overtime was not enough so the teams headed to a second, and Thiam took care of the rest. In the 106th minute, the Huskies were awarded a free kick just outside the box, taken by freshman Felix Metzler. The kick found the head of senior Jacob Hauser-Ramsey and then the foot of Thiam, who volleyed it home to capture the victory.
With the win, UConn remains a perfect 4-0 at Morrone Stadium. Harris leads the team with three assists, while Thiam’s hat trick brings his season total to five goals – no other player has more than one.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Huskies as Boston College comes to town on Tuesday, wrapping up nonconference play.