STORRS, Conn. – Playing in its second road conference match of the season, the UConn men’s soccer team fell, 1-0, to SMU on Saturday at Westcott Field in Dallas, Texas. With the setback, the Huskies drop to 3-4-4, while the Mustangs improve to 9-2-2 and have won seven-straight contests.
Sophomore forward Mauro Cichero gave the Mustangs a 1-0 lead at the 51:53 mark, heading in a pass from Jared Rice on a set piece. For Cichero, the goal was his team-leading eighth of the 2015 season.
UConn earned a penalty kick at the 61:10 mark but sophomore midfielder Alex Sanchez pushed the attempt over the crossbar.
Redshirt-sophomore keeper Scott Levene made three saves in the setback, while his counterpart Michael Nelson picked up the win with a seven-save effort in the net.
In the third minute, freshman centerback Simen Olafsen picked off a pass just over the midfield line and started a counter attack. After junior midfielder Kwame Awuah sent a through-ball up to Abdou Mbacke Thiam, senior forward Tyler Leeman received the ball in stride heading into the box but couldn’t’ get a one-time attempt off his foot before the defense closed the space.
Midway through the first half, junior co-captain Jake Nerwinski grabbed a loose ball and headed up field with a 5-on-5 opportunity but the Huskies couldn’t get off a shot as Awuah was stripped before sending in a cross. Nerwinski had another chance five minutes later when he put a shot on target that clanged off the post and was knocked away by Nelson for a corner.
The Husky backline prevented a Mustang opportunity in the 51st minute after Brenden Lee one-timed a shot from 22 yards out that was blocked and knocked away from danger. In the 56th minute, Awuah sent in a corner kick attempt that was put on target by Olafsen but his header was cleared off the line by the Mustang backline.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, Sanchez put a shot on goal that was cleared away by the backline for the second time.
In total, SMU led in shots, 17-to-11, while UConn held a 6-to-4 corner advantage.
Connecticut falls to 6-2-0 all-time against SMU in a series dating back to 1983.
The Huskies continue their two-game roadtrip when they travel to the campus of Louisville to challenge the Cardinals on Tuesday, Oct. 13. Kickoff at Lynn Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
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