The UConn women’s soccer team will make their fifth attempt at winning a conference game in their mid-week tie versus Houston Thursday afternoon.
UConn (4-7-1, 0-4 The American) has been shut out of its last four games, all within the conference, and they are about to face three teams directly surrounding them in the standings in their final five. It is win-now time for the Huskies, or they may find themselves watching The American Championship in their dorms instead of on the sidelines.
The Huskies will take on Houston (3-9, 0-2 The American) at 3 p.m. Thursday, after it was moved up from 7 p.m. due to concerns of EEE-infected mosquitos within the state.
The Cougars do not pose a massive threat at this point, having scored just two goals in their last four matches. They have also given up 11 in the same time frame and lost all four. However, UConn has been arguably worse in that time, scoring none and allowing nine.
Offensively, Houston has been lackluster all year, beating only Sam Houston, University of Incarnate Word and Stephen F. Austin. They have scored one or less goals in eight of their nine losses, with the only game they scored twice being in an overtime loss to Cal State Fullerton 3-2 in early September.
They have averaged just 1.08 goals per game this season, which is the same as UConn, but the Huskies have been tighter defensively than Houston has. However, Houston has a much better tendency to put the ball on net than the Huskies do, with a .467 shot-on-goal-percentage compared to UConn’s .376. The Cougars also struggle to move the ball around, earning assists on slightly more than 46% of their goals, with six out of 13 being assisted.
Houston has not had a standout goal-scorer this season either, as four players share their team goal-total lead with two. There are advantages to spreading the ball around, as is makes your attack much less predictable. However, it is also difficult for an offense to have to rely on a variety of players, instead of having a lot of confidence in the ability of a couple strong forwards.
Defensively, Houston has struggled mightily, allowing 27 goals through their 12 games for an average of 2.25 allowed per game. They have also allowed nearly as many shots per game as they have taken, with 11.2 against them per game.
Houston has also given four penalties this season and allowed goals on all of them. This is potentially extremely important for this game, as both teams have struggled to score recently and a direct opportunity on goal could prove to be the separating goal in this match.
UConn has a huge chance to rise up in the conference with this game, and have a shot at post-season play. This a do-or-die type game.
The game takes place at Dillon Stadium and will be streamed on the UConn women’s soccer team’s website. It is not free to watch.
Mike Mavredakis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @mmavredakis.