Men’s Soccer: Huskies set for first Big East match vs. St. John’s 

UConn men’s soccer competes against Manhattan College on Sept. 11, 2023 at Morrone Stadium. The Huskies finished the match with a 3-0 victory. Photo by grab photographer Connor Sharp.

The UConn men’s soccer team is set to begin Big East play Friday evening when they host the Red Storm of St. John’s University. 

Through five games so far, the Huskies have a 3-2 record. The team last played through the rain on Monday evening, not allowing Mother Nature to defeat them en route to a 3-0 win over Manhattan. Freshman Lucas Almeida converted the team’s first goal just three minutes into the game, showing that he’ll be an important part of UConn’s offense in the future. Junior Scott Testori tallied the second goal to complete a breakaway following a Manhattan turnover 18 minutes in. A 45 minute weather delay forced the game to pause but the Huskies did not take their foot off the gas. In the 71st minute, Adil Iggoute recorded a third UConn goal following an impeccably-placed Pierce Bateson assist. The third goal was the final nail in the coffin in a dominant showing over Manhattan. 

The Red Storm have played six games of their own, going 4-1-1 over that stretch. Prior to the season starting, St. John’s was voted the sixth-best of the 12 Big East teams, according to the men’s soccer preseason coaches poll, a list in which UConn finished T-10th. After suffering their only loss to No. 20 Penn State on Sept. 4, the Johnnies have won two consecutive matches. They were utterly dominant in their last game on Monday in which they defeated Temple 7-1. The squad took a 3-0 lead in the game’s opening 15 minutes and finished the first half leading 4-1 before ripping off three more goals in the latter half. St. John’s did an outstanding job distributing the ball around the offense, as seven different players tallied goals. 

Testori has evolved into a key contributor for UConn head coach Chris Gbandi’s offense. A 6-foot-3 product of Daniel Hand High School in Madison, Connecticut, Testori appeared in 12 games his freshman year before his playing time increased to 15 games, including five starts, as a sophomore. His playing time has continued to grow to the point where he is now a regular starter for the Huskies. The increased playing time has yielded results, as Testori is already two-thirds of the way to his season-high goal total of three through just five games this season. In addition to the goal he scored against Manhattan, Testori created good looks for both him and his teammates throughout the match. He fell just short on a few shot attempts and crossed many well-placed passes that were not properly received. Testori will look to continue being a focal point for his team against the Johnnies Friday evening. 

St. John’s will counter with an elite offensive performer of their own in graduate student Max McNulty. Hailing from Birmingham, England, the forward played four seasons with Division II powerhouse Lander University before joining the Red Storm. McNulty managed a goal and an assist in the Temple contest to contribute to a team-leading nine points through his team’s first six games. Along the way, he has tallied four goals (tied for No. 1 for St. John’s) and three assists (No. 2). He also has the highest shot-on-goal percentage of all Red Storm players who have attempted five or more shots. 

The Johnnies historically have had Connecticut’s number. The Huskies are 12-17-7 against the Red Storm in the past. However, the team has fared much better against this specific opponent when playing at home: 10-7-2 in Storrs versus 1-9-5 when playing away. 

The Huskies will host Goal Patrol Night in promotion of Friday’s contest. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium at the Rizza Performance Center. Fans can stream the match live with FloSports. 

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