Previewing 2018 Men’s Soccer: No. 20 UConn

bc men's soccer

Boston College men’s soccer (4-4-3, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) will step outside the conference and into Storrs, Conn. on Tuesday night to square off against No. 20 Connecticut (7-2-2, 2-0-2 American Athletic). Of late, not much has separated the Eagles and Huskies. In fact, the teams’ past two meetings have gone to overtime. This time, however, BC will be looking to bump its overall record above .500 for the season, while the Huskies will try to remain atop the AAC standings.

Who is BC playing?

Connecticut

When is BC playing?

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

Morrone Stadium, Storrs, Conn.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) BC is coming off a loss to No. 2 Wake Forest—a match that snapped the Eagles’ two-game win streak. The defeat, however, was decided by just one goal. The Eagles held off a sterling Wake Forest offense before conceding the winning goal in the 75th minute of regulation.

2) Every BC game this season has been decided by one goal, which is quite the feat considering the Eagles’ loaded schedule, one that has featured three top-10 teams: Duke, Louisville, and Wake Forest.

3) BC edged out the Huskies by one goal in an overtime contest last season. In 2016, UConn harnessed the win over the Eagles in practically identical fashion, needing an extra frame to put away head coach Ed Kelly’s team.

UConn:

1) UConn and No. 19 Central Florida battled to a scoreless draw last Friday. The Huskies’ young defense showed superior skills in blocking countless Knight shots on goal. The Knights have the third-best scoring offense nationally, which speaks volumes for this UConn defensive strategy. Yet UConn failed to capitalize on multiple scoring opportunities, leading to the 0-0 tie.

2) The Huskies currently boast a winning record largely due to Mbacke Thiam. The junior reigns as UConn’s top scorer, leading the team in 10 goals, four assists,  24 points, and 68 shots in the 2017 season.

3) At the moment, UConn is ranked No. 20 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, with a stellar freshmen class adding multiple dimensions to a new Huskies team.

Last Meeting:

In 2017, the Eagles defeated the Huskies, 3-2, in double overtime. UConn was up, 2-0, in the earliest stages of the game before BC came from behind and rallied for the win.

Last Time Out:

BC conceded a hard-fought game, 2-1, to No. 2 Wake Forest in the last 15 minutes of the game. BC held an 18-7 edge in shots and a 6-3 advantage in shots on goal over the Demon Deacons, while also earning eight corners to Wake Forest’s four in the recent ACC matchup. Despite outshooting Wake Forest throughout the majority of the game, the Eagles came up short in Spry Stadium.

Outlook:

BC will need to set the pace of the game at the outset in order to build confidence offensively. UConn’s defense has been particularly stingy this season, giving up only one goal in its last four contests. BC will depend on Simon Enstrom to post a big offensive game, as he has tallied four game-winning goals this season. Defensive stalwart Antonio Chavez Borrelli will have his hands full with an aggressive UConn attack. Before the match against Wake Forest, the BC goalkeeper recorded two consecutive shutouts, blanking both N.C. State and Harvard, with the Demon Deacons’ late-game score being the Eagles’ first goal allowed in the month of October.   

UConn will lean on Austin Aviza to curtail the Eagles’ offense. Husky senior Dylan Greenberg is also a key component of the Huskies’ backline. On the flip side, Abdou Mbacke Thiam, UConn’s leading scorer from last season, will be the player to watch on the attack.

BC will be looking to regain confidence and momentum as it enters the latter portion of the season, hungry to piece everything together prior to the ACC Tournament. The Huskies will surely come out eager to avenge last season’s heartbreaking defeat. While UConn seems to outmatch the Eagles on paper, a breakout BC performance could lead to yet another overtime showdown between the New England foes.

Featured Image by Tiger Tao / Heights Staff