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UConn Men’s Soccer Looks to Get Back to NCAAs

Despite big losses, the Huskies look to press on and be more productive offensively.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In 2016, UConn Men’s Soccer struggled to score and they know it.

“Finishing is the toughest part of the game,” redshirt senior goaltender Scott Levene said.

The Huskies would frequently play with just Abdou Mbacke Thiam as a forward placing a lot of the scoring burden on his shoulders.

“Wrongly, we put a lot of pressure on [the forwards],” Levene said. “We can’t rely on someone to have 30 goals.”

Mbacke Thiam scored 10 goals and Andrew Geres scored three. No one else scored more than two goals and the pair had half of the Huskies’ 26 tallies last year.

In 2017, Mbacke Thiam will have more help up front, as Ray Reid brought in two freshmen and two transfer forwards. Freshman Austin DaSilva is highly regarded by players and coaching staff alike, as is Dayonn Harris, a transfer from Penn State.

“We’re very happy to have them,” head coach Ray Reid said. “Dayonn has been very good.”

The Huskies also admit to getting ahead of themselves after a seven-match winning streak saw them ranked in the polls heading into the stretch run. USF shut them out at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium to begin the second half of conference play and the Huskies would win just one more match over the final six of the season, going 0-4-1 in conference play.

“We got into trouble when we were 10-4-0 and we said ‘look at us, we can be 15-4-0 at the end of the year’,” Levene said. “We’re going to look to be 1-0 and that’s how we’re going to approach every game.”

No. 24 UConn opens their season on Friday at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium against Iona. Their 7 p.m. kickoff will be the second half of a doubleheader, with the women’s squad beginning their home schedule against Yale at 3 p.m.