After the squad’s second unit mounted a comeback win over UMFK on Wednesday, the UConn men’s soccer team is looking to send out their typical starters in a winnable showdown with Marquette on the road Saturday night.
The Huskies (4-6-1 overall, 1-3-1 Big East) have struggled thus far this year, especially in conference play. Aside from a comeback win over Providence at home last week and a tie with top dog Xavier, there hasn’t been too much to celebrate lately in Storrs. UMFK, a school not operating under the NCAA but rather the USCAA, notably jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on Wednesday and held Connecticut to zero shots in the first half, an embarrassing start for the historic program. The Huskies were able to bounce back in a come-from-behind win, looking to not make the same early mistakes this weekend.
UConn, projected to finish eighth overall in the Big East this preseason, have played pretty true to that mark, currently sitting in ninth. While 4-4 at home, the team has yet to claim victory on the road with an 0-2-1 record, but look to change that in Wisconsin.
Connecticut is led by none other than 2021’s Big East Freshman of the Year Mateo Leveque, who leads all Huskies with nine points, thanks to his two goals and five assists. The sophomore recently earned a spot on the Big East Honor Roll for his one goal, one assist effort in the team’s comeback win over Providence. Leveque is a playmaker and will play a pivotal role in the results of the upcoming matchup.
Marquette (4-7-2 overall, 0-3-2 Big East), like UConn, has had a slow start to the year. Initially projected to finish seventh in the conference, the Golden Eagles sit in sole possession of last place in the Big East, a spot they look to leave immediately. They have struggled particularly lately, not winning a single game since the team’s 5-2 rout of Milwaukee back on Sept. 20. Their biggest successes over the past month include that contest, as well as ties with then-No. 19 Xavier and Providence on the road.
The Golden Eagles are coming off of a 3-2 loss to Seton Hall, a team that recently beat the Huskies 0-1 at Morrone Stadium. In Marquette’s loss, the team took an astounding 19 shots while allowing eight, but couldn’t make the most of their opportunities. Breaking through with goals were Edrey Caceres and Beto Soto, taking home their fourth and third scores of the year, respectively. They look to each find the back of the net yet again on Saturday.
Compared to UConn, Marquette has demonstrated great scoring talent this year. Many of the Huskies’ top scorers have two goals, with five players hitting that mark. The only player with more is graduate student Frantz Pierrot, tallying three on the season. The Golden Eagles have six players with at least three scores thus far. The trio of Caceres, Abdoul Karim Pare and Lukas Sunesson have a collective 14 goals on the year with 37 points to show for it. Each of these three takes multiple shots per game and hopes to apply lots of pressure on the Connecticut back line.
In terms of all-time record, the Huskies currently lead the Golden Eagles by a considerable margin, going 5-1-1 in their short history. Facing each other for the first time last year since 2012, it was Connecticut that came out on top, scoring early before a penalty kick was granted to each team late in the 2-1 win.
Kickoff is set for 7:05 p.m. on Saturday night at Valley Fields in Milwaukee, Wisoconsin. The game will be broadcast live on FloSports with stats provided by StatBroadcast.