Oct. 2, 2013
PHILADELPHIA - The No. 24 Connecticut men's soccer team picked up a 1-1 draw Wednesday afternoon at Ambler Sports Complex in Philadelphia, Pa against conference rival Temple. Connecticut stands at 3-2-3 (0-0-2 The American) while Temple moves to 6-3-1 (0-1-1 The American).
The first goal of the afternoon came at the 61:11 mark when sophomore forward Nicholas Zuniga netted his second career goal to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. Zuniga received a pass from Jakob Nerwinski and charged in from the right wing, taking a shot from 16 yards out that found its way into the upper left corner of the net. The score marked Zuniga's first goal since his golden goal against New Mexico in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
The goal was the first that Temple allowed at home this season in six contests and marked the second time UConn scored in the second half of a match this season.
Neither team was able to muster much offense in the first 45 minutes of the game, as both squads entered with impressive defensive statistics. Entering Wednesday, Temple held opponents to just six goals in nine games, while the Huskies allowed just four goals in seven contests.
The Owls had the first chance of the game when senior midfielder Vaughn Spurrier found space near the top of the box, but sent his blistering shot from just inside the 18 right into the chest of keeper Andre Blake. It was just the eighth save of the year for Blake, who has been masterful again this season, allowing just five goals in 780 minutes, helping propel UConn to three shutouts.
The Huskies responded in the 23rd minute, when freshman Ethan Decker took a corner kick that was mishandled initially by keeper Dan Scheck, but cleared away by the back line of Temple before forward Cyle Larin could get a foot on it.
Junior Edir DaGraca took the final shot of the first half, at the 36:10 mark, sending a shot just wide right of the net. The Huskies ended the first half of action out-shooting the Owls, 5-2, and also held a 1-0 edge in corner kicks.
The Huskies came out as the aggressors in the second half, maintaining possession in the attacking third, looking for the deciding through-ball. At the 46:10 mark, Larin chased down a through ball from Adria Beso, but couldn't get a shot off before the Temple center back was able to knock away the bid.
Larin had chance from a tough angle 10 yards out in the 52nd minute, but fired over the bar and a charging keeper.
The Owls scored the equalizer at the 78:48 mark, when Robert Sagel beat Blake, heading a shot into the back right of the net, assisted by Jared Martinelli. It was the second goal of the year for the Temple freshman defender.
The Huskies had a good look in the final two minutes of regulation, when Decker took a corner for the Huskies that was sent towards the middle of the box, but it was headed away by the defense back out to the Connecticut midfield where the ensuing cross was blocked out of bounds for a throw-in.
There was just one shot in the first 10 minute overtime period, as Allando Matheson nearly ended the match, heading a cross from Kwame Awuah just over the crossbar. Temple did not have any quality looks in the first sudden-victory period.
Decker had the first opportunity of the second overtime, flipping a left-footed shot towards the bottom left of the net, but it was saved by Scheck. With less than one minute, Matheson received the ball on his chest, spun, and had his shot blocked by the defense.
UConn held a 19-9 edge in shots during the match, but Scheck was fantastic, making seven saves for the Owls. Blake played all 110 minutes for the Huskies, making two saves and moving to 3-2-3 on the year.
The Huskies return home to Joseph J. Morrone Stadium, where they are 3-1-1 in 2013, for their next match this Saturday, October 5th at 7:00 p.m. against conference rival UCF. The Knights have had a week off, and will come into the match at 3-4-2 (1-1-0 The American).