Sept. 27, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - The No. 22 University of Connecticut men's soccer team came out firing, grabbing a goal three minutes into the match, but couldn't hold the lead, earning a 1-1 draw Friday night over the USF Bulls at Corbett Soccer Stadium in its inaugural American Athletic Conference contest. The Huskies now stand at 3-2-2 (0-0-1 The American), while the Bulls move to 2-1-4 (0-0-1 The American).
UConn got on the board early when senior midfielder George Fochive knocked home his first goal as a Husky with just under three minutes gone by in the first half. The chance was set up when Edir DaGraca laced a pass to Fochive who fired a shot from 15 yards out that curled around USF goalkeeper Brentton Muhammad into the bottom right of the net. The goal marked Fochive's first for UConn in 29 games, after he scored five goals at Hawaii Pacific University from 2010 to 2011. Both DaGraca and freshman Cyle Larin were given assists on the play.
The Bulls scored the equalizer at the 20:58 mark when Kennedy Selorm Adablah connected on his third goal of 2013. The Bulls' forward buried his shot into the left corner of the goal after a miscommunication by the UConn defense resulted in an empty net. It was just the fourth goal allowed by the Husky defense this season.
Neither team was able to get much going on the offensive side of the ball in the first half, as the teams' combined for just four total shots. UConn had a great chance just two minutes after grabbing a 1-0 lead, as Larin found space just inside the box, sending a blistering shot from 17 yards out towards the top of the goal, but it skimmed off the crossbar and headed into the stands.
UConn had the first chance of the second half, when DaGraca received the ball left of the goal and dodged a defender before firing a shot from a tough left angle that rose over the crossbar.
USF nearly took the lead at the 63:37 mark when Lindo Mfeka took a direct free kick from 28 yards out that Blake made a diving save on to keep the score tied at one. Blake finished the contest with two saves.
With just 26 seconds remaining in regulation, Larin headed a shot that was saved by Muhammad but sent back towards the middle of the box where Nicholas Zuniga sent a right-footed shot over the crossbar.
In the second overtime, Connecticut nearly ended the game twice on a golden goal, when Larin's shot at 101:03 went off the crossbar and directly down but did not cross the goal line, as Muhammad was able to get a finger on the ball and send it back to the center back. Zuniga corralled the rebound and followed with a shot 15 seconds later that went off the left post.
The Huskies are now 8-0-1 all-time against the Bulls. UConn out-shot USF 11 to 5 in the match.
The Huskies will return to action next Wednesday, October 2nd when they will head to Philadelphia, Pa. to take on conference foe Temple at 3:00 p.m.