— UConn Men's Soccer (@UConnMSOC) August 17, 2015
STORRS, Conn. - Two first-half goals propelled the UConn men's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Rider on Sunday night at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in the squad's exhibition opener.
UConn, which finished the 2014 season unbeaten in its final seven matches, controlled the tempo of the match from the start, out-shooting Rider, 19-3, including a 9-to-1 edge in the final 45 minutes.
The Huskies struck in the match's fifth minute when junior captain Kwame Awuah received a centering pass at the 12-yard marker from freshman forward Abdou Thiam and fired a shot into the top right corner of the net.
Connecticut pushed its lead to 2-0 in the 17th minute after Thiam converted on a penalty kick, pushing his attempt into the bottom left of the cage. Transfer Sebastian Brems drew the penalty when he was pulled down in the box after sidestepping a Rider defender.
The Broncs got on the board in the 63rd minute, taking advantage of their first corner of the game. Adrien Huss took the attempt and found a cutting Matt Fryc in the middle of the box, who deposited the ball into the back of the net to cut the Husky lead to 2-1.
Scott Levene, who finished the 2014 campaign with the fourth-lowest GAA (0.51) among Division I goalkeepers, was credited with the win after holding the Broncs scoreless in 45 minutes of action. Freshman Alejandro Cubillo played the entire second half, allowing one goal.
Awuah and Thiam nearly connected again in the 38th minute when Awuah sent in a cross from the upper right corner of the box but Broncs' keeper David Pastuna punched the ball away before Thiam could get a head on it. Forward Fredrik Jonsson had an opportunity in the 43rd minute, putting two shots on goal that bounced off the chest of the keeper and away from danger.
The Huskies had a pair of early second-half scoring chances after the opening the half with an entirely new lineup. Freshman Mark Richards found space at the top of the box but chipped a shot that rolled wide left of the net.
Connecticut held a 3-to-1 advantage in corner kick attempts.
The Huskies return to the pitch on Saturday, Aug. 22 when they host Syracuse in final exhibition match of 2015. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and is open to the public free-of-charge.