The UConn men’s soccer team will begin its final stretch of away games this weekend, as they travel to Pennsylvania to take on conference rival Temple. The Huskies are coming off a tough loss against No. 5 UCF and are hopeful to get back on track in another tough matchup.
For UConn (4-9-1, 1-3-0 The American), it has been a difficult season. Not because the team’s nine losses are their most since 1995 when they lost 11, but because so many of those losses could have easily been wins. Of UConn’s nine defeats, seven of them were by just one goal and three of them came in overtime, including their last loss against top-ranked UCF. If a few shots had gone the Huskies’ way, we would be looking at a completely different team and outlook for the rest of the season.
It’s been a team effort on offense for the Huskies for the past month, as they’ve had six different goal scorers — including Jake Dengler’s first UConn goal earlier this week against UCF — with assists coming from five different players. They will need to keep getting contributions across the board if they want to start coming out of these close games with wins, a game plan similar to what the Owls have coming into this one.
Temple (6-6-1, 2-1-1 The American) are on a hot streak, having won their last three games including a big 2-1 win against No. 17 Louisville. Like the Huskies, Temple has had seven different players score over the past month. The team is led by senior Luka Fernandes and freshman Sean Karani, who have each racked up three goals and two assists on the year. UConn will need to keep an eye on these two on the defensive end to keep them out of the back of the net.
On offense, the Huskies will be looking to score the first goal, as all but one of the Owl’s wins have come when they are the first to score. Temple’s goalie boasts an impressive .097 goals against average, good enough for second among goalies in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), and a .723 save percentage, placing him at fourth in the AAC.
Since tying in their first matchup in 2013, the Huskies have never lost to Temple going 8-0 since, with their last game being a 3-1 win for UConn. Ray Reid and the Huskies will look to keep this streak alive and get off to a strong start in what is their last road stretch of the 2019 season. Kickoff for this one is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Temple Sports Complex.
Conner Gilson is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @connergilson03.