STORRS, Conn. – The No. 24 UConn men’s soccer program dropped a hard-fought 1-0 decision to Iona on opening night at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium, falling victim to a goal in the 108th minute in front of a crowd of 3,009.
The Huskies (0-1-0) were led by junior captain Abdou Mbacke Thiam, who fired seven shots (two on goal) throughout the contest. For the majority of the game, UConn held a big advantage in ball possession.
Late in the second overtime, Iona’s Josh Plimpton capitalized on a loose ball in the box, nudging it past redshirt senior goalkeeper Scott Levene and giving the Gaels a 1-0 win. It was just the fifth shot of the match for Iona, which was outshot 12-5.
UConn had a few great scoring opportunities, including in the 48th minute when sophomore Niko Petridis drew a foul in the box – setting up a penalty kick. Thiam’s penalty shot was then saved by Iona goalkeeper Kellar Sirstins, keeping the scoreless draw intact.
In the second half, the Huskies had good chances in the 71st and 84th minutes when Thiam and junior transfer Dayonn Harris rifled headers toward Sirstins, but both were turned away. In the 64th minute, Thiam rattled a shot off the post.
A close game resulted in a chippy second half, as Iona’s Humbert Ferrer and UConn’s Dylan Greenberg were each assessed yellow cards. The Huskies outshot the Gaels, 5-1, in the second half of regulation.
Thiam saved UConn in the first half with his defense, as he stopped an Iona shot on the goal line in the 41st minute. On the offensive side, Greenberg had a pair of free kicks from just outside the box, but nothing came from them.
The Huskies dominated ball possession for the majority of the first half, resulting in nine fouls by Iona. In the 13th minute, Thiam found freshman Blaise Tohou N’Gague outside the box, who fired a shot just over the crossbar.
Throughout the game, UConn held a 10-1 advantage in corner kicks.
No. 24 UConn returns to action on Monday night when it hosts Quinnipiac at 7 p.m.