Carlos Alvarez celebrates the game's opening goal against St. John's
Sept. 22, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - The No. 2 University of Connecticut men's soccer team won the BIG EAST opener, 3-0, against No. 13 St. John's in front of 5,100 fans tonight at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. All-American midfielder Carlos Alvarez finished with two goals and an assist to lead the Huskies. UConn improved to 7-0-1 (1-0-0 BIG EAST) while St. John's fell to 5-1-3 (0-1-0 BIG EAST).
Sophomore All-American goalkeeper Andre Blake recorded two saves to earn his fifth shutout of the season. St. John's keeper Rafael Diaz made three saves in the losing effort.
UConn won the BIG EAST opener for the seventh straight season and improved to 13-2-1 in BIG EAST openers under head coach Ray Reid.
"The most important thing is that we are 1-0 in the BIG EAST," said Reid. "We beat them the first time we played last year too. Hopefully, when we play them again later this year, we'll win that one too."
Tonight's match was a rematch of the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament Championship in which St. John's claimed a 1-0 victory in overtime at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Always a heated affair when St. John's and Connecticut meet, tonight's game resulted in 27 fouls, five yellow cards and a red card for St. John's forward Danny Bedoya in the 32nd minute.
Connecticut scored first for the eighth straight game. All-American Carlos Alvarez scored his third goal of the season at 13:20 with a volley from 10 yards out. Senior Max Wasserman sent in a perfect early cross from the right wing to lead into the run of Alvarez a yard left of the penalty spot. Adria Beso also assisted on the goal.
"I saw Max with space and I know I'm supposed to be there in the box," said Alvarez. "I made a hard run and Max put it right to me. I tried to just hit it clean and it went in. It was a great cross."
"Beso found me with space on the right side," said Wasserman. "I like to come forward a lot from my position. I saw Carlos making a run early and I played it across. It curled around the defense right to him."
Wasserman now has seven points on two goals and three assists in just eight games after finishing 2011 with just two goals for four points in 18 games played.
The Huskies nearly had a second with an excellent counter attack in the 25th minute. Jossimar Sanchez sent a ball up to Stephane Diop who found Alvarez streaking through the middle. Alvarez took a touch and tried to chip Diaz from 20 yards out but his shot went over the bar.
In the 32nd minute, St. John's went down a player after Bedoya earned a red card. Connecticut had a free kick from 20 yards out, but Adria Beso hit the shot high over the bar.
Connecticut held a 7-3 edge in shots at the end of 45 minutes.
A man up following the red card to Bedoya, the Huskies maintained possession throughout the second half.
Connecticut had shots from Alvarez and Diop that sailed over the bar.
St. John's had a chance to equalize with a penalty kick at 68:39 but St. John's freshman Jelani Williams sailed his attempt well over the cross bar.
Connecticut capitalized on the error at 78:44 with a successfully converted penalty kick from Alvarez, his fourth goal of the season.
Mamadou Doudou Diouf beat a defender on the right wing before being taken down by Diaz inside the box. Alvarez beat Diaz to the goalkeepers left to go ahead 2-0.
The Huskies closed out the scoring with Allando Matheson's fourth goal of the season at 82:51. Alvarez found space 30 yards out and chipped the ball over the top of the center back. Matheson forced his way inside his defender and finished from 12 yards out.
UConn will be in action next with a road match at Yale on Tuesday, September 25 at 7 p.m. UConn will then host Notre Dame at 7 p.m. in Storrs on Saturday, September 29. That game is SOLD OUT.