Despite a hard-fought 90 minutes, the UConn men’s soccer team was once again unable to convert their chances to points against USF, losing their first conference matchup 2-1. As the halfway point of the season approaches, the Huskies are in desperate need of a change if they hope to salvage something this year.
UConn (3-5-0, 0-1-0 The American) struggled to get anything going in the first half and got off four shots, only one of which was on frame. Meanwhile the Bulls made quick work, getting off seven shots in the half and finding pay dirt in the 17th minute.
The ball bounced around UConn’s box before it landed at the feet of midfielder Emilio Ycaza, who took full advantage of the opportunity. Ycaza drove the ball past the outstretched arm of UConn keeper Gianluca Catalano and into the back of the net to take the early lead. Both teams had a few more chances but were unable to score, and the first whistle blew with USF up 1-0.
As has been the case most of the season, the Huskies came out with a vengeance in the second and found the equalizer in the 61st minute. This time it was redshirt senior Dayonn Harris who scored for UConn, his first goal of the year. Freshman Ben Awashie received a nice ball from senior Jordan Hall and bolted towards goal. A USF defender tripped Awashie up, but the ball found its way to Harris, who lasered his shot past the Bulls’ goalie to even the score at one.
Unfortunately for UConn fans, USF (5-2-0, 1-0-0 The American) took back the lead in the 81st minute and would not give it up this time. The Huskies have struggled against set pieced so far in the season, and that was the case once again on Friday.
Off a corner, USF defender Avionne Flanagan sent ball into the center of the box where Javain Brown found himself at the right place at the right time, heading the ball past Catalano and in for what would be the game-winning goal.
UConn would put on the pressure for the last 10 minutes. They almost found themselves in some last-minute dramatics in the 89th minute, when Felix Metzler sent a ball into the box and found Harris, whose header ended up just wide. By the final whistle, UConn got off 13 shots compared to USF’s 14, but the big difference came in shots on goal, where the Huskies had just two compared to the Bulls’ six.
UConn’s next chance to get back on track comes this Tuesday when they are headed to New Hampshire to take on Dartmouth. The game is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+.
Conner Gilson is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @connergilson03.