The UConn men’s soccer team snapped a three game losing streak with a 2-0 win over Manhattan College Tuesday night at Dillon Stadium in Hartford. Senior forward Jordan Hall scored the opening goal, his seventh of the season, in the seventh minute and redshirt sophomore midfielder Cole Venner tallied his first goal of the season in the 63rd minute to ensure a Huskies victory.
Senior captain Dayonn Harris continued his strong play on the wing, picking up his sixth assist of the season on the opening goal. Harris beat a defender with a dribble move on the right sideline just past midfield before picking out a precise aerial through ball to a running Jordan Harris, who collected the ball with ease and slotted a shot past Manhattan goalkeeper Marcellin Gohier into the bottom left corner. There is no denying that the two seniors have an outstanding understanding of each other on the field, especially considering that the Harris to Hall connection has accounted for six of UConn’s eight goals this season.
“I know that Jordan and I have good chemistry,” said Harris. “I definitely do look for him.”
Harris clearly stands out as a main spark in the Husky offensive attack, and is especially effective with the counter-attack style that the team employs for large stretches of games. The senior winger has excellent speed, lightning quick and fundamentally technical dribbling skills and great passing vision. This season, Harris has proven just as effective at picking out through balls from deeper positions as he has at beating defenders with the ball at his feet and whipping in crosses to forwards charging into the box.
Harris is equally dangerous on either wing and seems to have a great deal of liberty to move where he pleases in the attacking third.
“Let’s be clear,” joked Reid. “Dayonn switches (from wing to wing) himself.”
Harris’ skill set was on full display in the first half. After assisting on the opening score, the senior nearly tallied his first goal of the season. He gathered a pass from junior Djimon Johnson on the left wing and cut inside onto his right foot, skipping past two defenders and firing a shot that didn’t quite have enough placement to beat Gohier. In the 30th minute, Harris almost picked up a second assist as his beautifully played corner kick found the head of junior defender Robert Lapert, but his attempt sailed slightly high and wide of the top left corner.
“Coach has allowed me the freedom to move and I just try to find the ball wherever it is,” said Harris. “I try to put my teammates in the best position to score.”
Although he stands at just 5-foot-7 and 155 pounds, Harris is physically strong and is able to hold off defenders much bigger than him while controlling the ball, which proved especially important in Tuesday night’s game, which became more physical and cagey as the game progressed. His one regrettable moment came in the final five minutes of the game as he picked up a yellow card for throwing the ball at a Manhattan defender in retaliation for being shoved while standing out of bounds.
The Huskies improved to 3-3 with the win while Manhattan fell to 0-4. UConn will host Columbia on 7p.m. Friday night at Dillon Stadium and will need Harris to continue his strong play in order to pick up another positive result.
Story Salit is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.