The UConn men’s soccer team suffered another loss this weekend, extending their winless stretch of games to four dating back to Sept. 20. The Huskies six losses this season match their total from all of last year, taking seven less games to reach that mark than in 2018.
UConn (3-6-1, 0-2-0 The American) looked strong throughout, but their struggles to find the net continued, resulting in the close loss. Head coach Ray Reid was impressed with how his guys played and said all it came down to one play.
“The team did a really good job,” Reid said. “One breakdown in overtime and you pay the price.”
The Huskies had a chance early in the 21st minute when a counterattack gave junior Ahdan Tait a one-on-one opportunity with Memphis’ keeper, Parker Lackland. Unfortunately for UConn fans, Lackland came out on top to keep the score even. Not many more scoring opportunities came for either team for the remainder of the half, each team getting off six shots. The teams entered the locker rooms at halftime tied at zero.
Chances came a bit more frequently and were more threatening in the second half for both teams, each of them trying to break the game open after a rather defensive first half of play. The Huskies had great chances from Dayonn Harris, Ibrahima Diop, Moussa Wade and Wesley Leggett, but almost every shot they took was sent soaring over the bar for a goal kick.
For Memphis (7-2-0, 2-0-0 The American), they also had several opportunities to score, many of them putting UConn keeper Gianluca Catalano to the test. Luckily Catalano was on top of his game, racking up a season-high seven saves on the day.
His biggest save of the day came in the 70th minute when the Tigers sent the ball into the corner before working it towards the top of the box. After a couple passes, Memphis’ Gurman Sangha ripped a shot low, Catalano began to dive for the save, but quickly changed his trajectory after the ball deflected off UConn’s center back Jake Denger. Catalano made the outstretched save that led to a Huskies clearance, keeping the score tied until the final whistle blew.
UConn put the pressure on early in overtime and kept the ball on Memphis’ half for the first few minutes. But off a quick counter, the Tigers’ Michael Blanke beat the Huskies defense down the sideline and ended up two against one at the net. Catalano charged out of his net but Blanke passed the ball around him and found Alexandros Ierides in front of the open net where he tapped it in for the victory.
UConn is back in action this Tuesday as they face off against Providence College. The team played very well last time despite the loss, especially in the midfield. This will hopefully give them the boost they need to get over the hump and back in the win column.
Conner Gilson is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @connergilson03.