Conference play for men’s soccer began this week in The American and with it came hard-fought matchups, close scores and shifts in the standings that we will look at in this edition of Around the American.
The UConn men’s soccer team opened up conference play with a 2-2 draw when they took on USF. The Huskies (4-2-1, 0-1 The American) struck first when redshirt junior Dayonn Harris scored his first career goal right around the six minute mark in the first half. USF (3-5-1, 0-1 The American) answered back just five minutes later when a Kori Cupid header off a corner kick found the back of the net. The Knights made the most of their one shot in the second half when Stephen Rudderham score to take the lead at the 77th minute. UConn tied it up just three minutes later when Abdou Mbacke Thiam scored. Freshman Metzler had the chance to win it for the Huskies in the final seconds but his shot sailed over the net. The draw leaves UConn in fourth place in the conference with USF right behind them in fifth.
Memphis took the top spot in the conference after beating last place Cincinnati 1-0. As the score may indicate, this was a defensive heavy game. An Edgar Alaniz header from Peyton McKnatt in the 44th minute was the only scoring for either side. Although the Tigers (5-2-2, 1-0 The American) outshot the Bearcats (1-7-0, 0-1 The American) 14-11, each side had five shots on net. There were plenty of opportunities for each team to score with a combined 14 corner kicks.
Like Memphis, SMU needed only one goal to beat Tulsa last Saturday. The lone goal came from freshman Lane Warrington, the first of his career, at the three minute mark in the first half. Junior goalkeeper Grant Makela had a himself day, stopping all four of Tulsa’s shots on net. This was the first time in three seasons that the Mustangs (4-3-1, 1-0 The American) opened conference play with a win. SMU now sits second in the conference while the Golden Hurricanes (3-4-1, 0-1 The American) are right above Cincy at seventh in the conference.
Temple was the third team to win in conference play thus far and the third team to win by a score of 1-0. The Owls (3-4-1, 1-0 The American) hosted UCF last Friday in a game that the Knights (5-2-1, 0-1 The American) seemed to be in control of. Junior Lukas Fernandes scored the only goal of the match in the 21st minute. Temple was outshot 19-11, had five less corner opportunities (6-1) and went offsides three times but still were able to hang on to the win. Temple is now third in The American while UCF sits in sixth.
There were also two non-conference games played by teams in The American this past week. Tulsa took a tough 2-1 double-overtime loss in Denver after their loss to SMU. USF, after their draw with UConn, hosted Stetson and won 3-1.
Kevin Arnold is a campus correspondent for the Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.