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UConn Men’s Soccer Downs Providence, 1-0

UConn finally wins one in regulation at home.

UConn’s Abdou Mbacke Thiam (11) celebrates with the UConn Goal Patrol after scoring in the second half.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn Men’s Soccer won its second consecutive match on Tuesday by defeating Providence at Morrone Stadium, 1-0.

“It was a team effort,” head coach Ray Reid said after the game.

Abdou Mbacke Thiam registered his team-leading sixth goal of the year and Scott Levene made six saves.

Providence held the ball for much of the first few minutes in the UConn defensive third as it looked like the visiting team would dominate the match. However, the Friars were unable to come away with a shot and the Huskies countered for the rest of the first half.

UConn pressured PC goalkeeper Colin Miller along with the rest of the Providence defense throughout the half, getting 11 shots off, five on target.

“The first half we were really good and dangerous,” Reid said.

The best chance came in the 16th minute. From the left side, Munir Saleh sent a cross all the way to the opposite side of the 18-yard box, where Mbacke Thiam was waiting. Miller made the initial sprawling save, but Mbacke Thiam got a second shot off that would have found the back of the net if not for a heads-up play by the Friar back line. They had three lined up along the goal line to back up their goalkeeper, who was well off his line.

Blaise Tohou-N’Gague had a solid chance 10 minutes later when he found some space. Mbacke Thiam made a strong defensive play to get the ball to him and after Tohou-N’Gague beat a man, he was able to get in all the way to the 18-yard box. He felt some pressure and laid the ball off, but no one was home.

“I think we play well from the back,” Mbacke Thiam said. “We work hard to get chances.”

The half would end scoreless, but the Huskies continued to press on early in the second.

In the 48th minute, Mbacke Thiam got a head on a corner kick from Dyaln Greenberg, who sent it in from the right flag. It bounced under Miller, but it was just over the crossbar on the way back up.

“[Mbacke Thiam]’s doing a good job,” Reid said.

As the half continued, Providence started to get more in the game. They out-shot the Huskies 4-to-3 in the second 45 minutes and forced Levene to make some tough saves.

Despite the more even half, it was the Huskies who drew first blood off the foot of Mbacke Thiam, assisted by Niko Petridis, in the 82nd minute.

“[Burgess] played a ball down the line and I just wanted to work as hard as I could to keep the ball in,” Petridis said. “I have to give Abdou credit. I look up and he’s in the box waiting for me.”

Providence pressured hard at the end, but the Huskies held off and took the victory.

UConn (4-2-2) returns to the pitch on Friday against Tulsa. Kickoff at Morrone Stadium is at 7 p.m.