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No. 24 UConn Men’s Soccer Battles to Beat Quinnipiac

The Huskies struggled with finishing but were able to pull out the win.

Amar Batra/The UConn Blog

No. 24 UConn Men’s Soccer beat their 202-minute scoreless streak to open the season on Monday night in front of 4,666 at Morrone Stadium, where they overcame missed shot after missed shot to take the win over Quinnipiac, 1-0.

Scott Levene made one save, while the Huskies took 15 shots but put only three on target.

For the second straight match, the Huskies played like a team that was the better of the two on the field, but had nothing to show for it after 45 minutes.

“The toughest thing to do in the game is score,” head coach Ray Reid said.

Quinnipiac was physical throughout the first half, knocking UConn off the ball and making them uncomfortable. Despite the physicality, the Huskies battled through a couple of hard fouls and still grabbed a 4-0 shots advantage, but neither team registered a shot on target.

UConn dominated possession and kept it in the attacking third for much of the first 45 minutes, but their best chance came in the 40th minute.

Nicolas Apostol was fouled at about midfield, but the referee played advantage and he was able to push through and keep the ball moving. Abdou Mbacke Thiam found the ball with some space on the right side and played a tremendous ball to the far post, where Josh Burnett was crashing the net. He missed just outside the post and the match would head to the half tied.

“In two matches, we have created more big-time chances than we did in 21 matches last year,” Reid said.

The second half proved just as frustrating, if not more so, for the UConn offense.

They sent an impressive 10 shots at Bobcats goalkeeper Chrysostomos Iakovidis in the second half, only two of which were on target.

Austin DaSilva started the onslaught of almost chances in the 55th minute, when he intercepted a back pass, but Conor McCoy made a tremendous tackle to keep him from taking the chance.

Throughout the rest of regulation – up until the 90th minute when a pass from Greenberg to Mbacke Thiam went just inches to the wrong side of the goal line – the Huskies kept possession and put pressure on the Bobcats, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

In the 94th minute, Greenberg was able to find Mbacke Thiam. His cross found the forward’s foot and the ball found the back of the net before the pair went leaping into the students gathered behind the net.

“I saw Abdou make an inside run in the box and I found him and we finally finished,” Greenberg said.

No. 24 UConn men’s soccer (1-1-0) will take on No. 10 Notre Dame on Saturday at Morrone Stadium. Kick off is at 7 p.m.