The men’s soccer team looked strong against Rider University this past Friday, walking away with a 2-0 victory in their season opener. While there were positives from the match, the biggest takeaway was the success of senior transfer Jordan Hall in his first regular season game in a Huskies uniform. Hall scored both of UConn’s goals and looked like the leader the Huskies need this season on both sides of the field.
Head coach Ray Reid talked about how Hall’s play fits into the team.
“He brings what we really need,” Reid said. “He’s got an edge, he’s tough, he scores goals, he fights, he’s just what we need.”
Despite each team getting off just four shots in the first half, it was clear that UConn, led by Hall, was in complete control of the game. The Huskies were simply having trouble finishing in the final third, until the 20th minute. That’s when redshirt senior Dayonn Harris took the ball down the right sideline before sending a low cross toward the box. The ball went through four players, landing at the back post where Hall timed his run perfectly before hitting a laser past the Broncs’ goalie and into the bottom left corner of the net.
Hall spoke on what his first official goal meant to him.
“I was ecstatic honestly, it was a great feeling,” Hall said. “It’s always nice to start off the season with a goal.”
Another golden scoring opportunity came in the 42nd minute off a Rider corner. What started as a simple clearance by Hall quickly turned into a one-man fastbreak as the forward juked and dribbled past several Rider defenders before he had just the keeper to beat. With a defender on his back, Hall tried to chip the goalie, but he was able to tip the ball out of bounds to keep Hall from his second goal of the half.
It was more of the same from the Huskies in the second half as they had clear control of the game despite Rider getting off more shots than them. Then in the 55th minute, Harris and Hall struck again. Harris chased down a bouncing ball on the right side and sent a beautiful volley into the box. Like clockwork, Hall leapt into the air and hit a long header past Rider’s goalie and into the side netting of the goal, extending the Huskies’ lead and bringing his goal tally to two.
Harris talked about how he and Hall have been able to build such a strong connection so early.
“Preseason was big for us,” Harris said. “Our main focus was getting to know each other and just tightening up that bond. It was good to show that today and we got the result.”
Hall praised Harris for the beautiful cross, saying he had the easy part of the job.
“When you’ve got a guy crossing it like that all you have to do is run forward and it’s gonna find your head, you don’t have to do much. Just close your eyes and hope for the best.”
After the second goal, the crowd erupted in cheers and songs for the newcomer, who is surely a welcome sight to a team who lost their leading scorer from last season. Hall spoke on what it felt like to be a part of such a supportive crowd.
“It’s great, I’ve never experienced anything like it,” Hall said. “Playing back home there was nothing like this and even at Rutgers the fanbase wasn’t as good as this it was really nice.”
Next up for the Huskies is a trip to Rhode Island on Monday, Sept. 2 where they will take on the Rams in what should be a competitive match. Hall will look to keep his momentum going and lead his team to another victory early in the season.
Conner Gilson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.