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AAC Men’s Soccer Tournament Preview

The Huskies will need to win the whole thing to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

On Saturday night, UConn men’s soccer fell to No. 13 SMU and coupled with UCF’s victory over Cincinnati earlier in the day, they will be the No. 3 seed and face the Knights in Friday’s American Athletic Conference tournament semifinals at Westcott Field on the campus of SMU in Dallas.

Here are the final standings in The American. UConn earned the third seed due to a tiebreaker over Temple.

American Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Standings

Team Points
Team Points
SMU 16
UCF 13
UConn 12
Temple 12
USF 11
Tulsa 9
Memphis 8
Cincinnati 0

Through play on Oct. 29, the Huskies sit at 82nd in RPI out of 205 teams, so the conference’s automatic bid is their only chance of making the 48-team NCAA Tournament.

UConn and UCF played on Oct. 21 at a sold-out Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Connecticut and the Knights took a 3-2 win as part of their current seven-match unbeaten streak, where they are 6-0-1.

UCF scored early and then made their lead 2-0 in the 54th minute before the Huskies attempted their comeback bid, closing the deficit to one on this Dylan Greenberg goal just over four minutes later.

However, Cal Jennings scored his second of the contest with less than 20 minutes to go and despite Josh Burnett’s second career tally, the quest to tie the proceedings would never be completed.

Matthew Rosenberg has been part of the key to the hot streak for the Knights. He has started between the sticks in their last six matches (5-0-1 record) and the team is 5-1-2 when he plays, including playing the final 42:45 of a scoreless tie with No. 14 West Virginia on the road after starting goalkeeper Yannik Oettl received a red card.

UCF has scored 24 goals against 13 allowed through 14 matches, with slightly better per-game numbers, at 1.71 scored and .93 allowed, than UConn, who is at 1.24 and 1.00, respectively.

Most of their scoring comes from Matias Pyysalo, who was named offensive player of the year, and Jennings, who have combined for 19 of UCF’s goals. Pyysalo has 12, Jennings has seven.

Should the Huskies advance, they will play either SMU or Temple in the championship match for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday at 2 p.m. with coverage from ESPNU.

UConn is 1-1-0 against those teams after SMU took the win on Saturday, while the Huskies beat Temple 2-0 in Philadelphia on Sep. 23.

UConn and UCF will begin their semifinal at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and it will be televised on the American Digital Network.