Michael Mercado put on the goalie pads at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
May 20, 2012
TORONTO, Canada - Director of Soccer Quality Control Brian Clarhaut tells the story of the last competition for the UConn soccer team in Toronto.
The University of Connecticut Men's Soccer team conducted the last of three matches of its foreign tour last night against Sigma FC. The 8:30 scheduled kickoff was met with temperatures in the mid 70's, making ideal playing conditions against a Sigma team that is home to some of the best college-age players in Canada.
From the kickoff, the intensity and physical elements of the match were in full swing. The first half was a fairly even contest calling on both team's goalkeepers to come up with saves to keep their respected team in the match. Andre Blake had an excellent near post save in the 25th minute. Sigma FC sent a cross to the far post where the Sigma FC Player who struck it with pace near post, forcing Blake to tip it wide to keep the game even.
Three minutes later in the 28th minute, the Huskies had their best opportunity of the match when they were given a direct kick 24 yards out. Carlos Alvarez stood over the ball and played a quick short ball to Colin Bradley. Bradley, sent a through ball that just missed a running Mamadou Doudou Diouf inside the six yard box.
The rest of the second half was dictated by midfield play that went back and fourth in possession. Jossimar Sanchez was excellent reading and intercepting passes in the UConn defensive third. The Huskies walked into halftime at a scoreless tie, eager to put more pressure on the Sigma FC back four in the second half.
The opening minutes of the second half resulted in the same physical, high tempo, playing style that made for an exciting match from a viewer's perspective. Finally 10 minutes in, in the 55th minute, the Huskies were able to get on the score sheet. Colin Bradley received a square pass out of the midfield, who took his head up and hit a through ball that put Allando Matheson on a breakaway with the Sigma FC keeper. Matheson's initial shot was saved, only to be followed up and buried by Sean Weir making it 1-0 Connecticut.
Despite being down 1-0, Sigma FC maintained the hard work approach and made it difficult for the Huskies to find other good scoring chances. That changed in the 75th minute when Diouf poked a toe inside the bottom of the circle of his own half past the Sigma FC Center Back. Mamadou beat any other opposition to the free ball that lead to a 40 yard run to goal beating the Sigma FC Keeper making it 2-0.
Connecticut was able to slow the pace of the game down in the remaining 10 minutes and secured their third and final win of the three-game foreign tour.