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UConn Men’s Soccer Downs Cincinnati 3-0

The Huskies took care of business against the bottom of the conference.

Cole Venner celebrates the first goal of his UConn career with his teammates. UConn dispatched Cincinnati last night, 3-0.
Pato Jerzak

The UConn men’s soccer team picked up a solid win last night, dispatching the Cincinnati Bearcats 3-0 at Morrone Stadium. The Huskies, ranked 24th in the country in the latest United Soccer Coaches Poll, were paced by goals from Abdou Mbacke Thiam, Cole Venner, and Steffen Yeates. UConn has now won four straight and remain undefeated at Morrone this year.

UConn could not break through in the first half, despite holding a 12-3 advantage in shots. They finally converted when Mbacke Thiam took care of a one-on-one breakaway in the 55th minute. After that, redshirt freshman Venner collected a Dylan Greenberg cross in the 78th minute, and calmly converted from inside the box. It was the first goal of his UConn career.

UConn put the final nail in the coffin in the games waning minutes, after Yeates won a loose ball and converted a quick strike past the Cincinnati goalkeeper. It was also his first goal of the true freshman’s young career.

Yeates, on opening his UConn account: “I’m excited for sure. It helps me build my confidence going into our next games. Moving forward, it will help me get in the right spots and creating opportunities for myself and my teammates.”

Head coach Ray Reid was still unhappy with the team’s play in the second half, despite the dam finally breaking.

“We did not play well in the second half,” he said. “We had three nice opportunistic goals, but we have to play better soccer against Sacred Heart.”

Mbacke Thiam now has seven goals this year, and 38 for his illustrious Husky career.

“As the number nine, my job is to score goals,” he said. “They make it easier, to be honest. No matter what, I’m going to have chances. I give credit to all the boys; we did the right things in the right spots.”

Trap games are a thing, and falling victim to one separate the good teams from the great. Cincinnati falls to 3-8-1 on the season, while UConn moves to 6-2-1. By that standard, this is a game UConn should have easily handled. But truly “bad” teams are few and far between, making games like last night critical to a team’s resume. Dropping points to a team with a subpar record can prove dismal to an entire campaign, and give UConn credit for beating a team it should have.

Reid’s men converted chances when they could. Let’s not forget, one of the talking points at the start of the season was how more chances could be manufactured. So far, UConn has 14 goals on 111 shots this year, good for a 1.56 goals per game average.

UConn will look to build on its momentum Tuesday, when the Huskies host Sacred Heart at 7:00 p.m. at Morrone Stadium. The Pioneers from Fairfield, Connecticut are 2-8-1 this year.