Alverez scores twice in win over St. John’s
Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 23, 2012 23:09
The No. 2 UConn men’s soccer team defeated rival No. 13 St. John’s 3-0 Saturday night in its first Big East match of the year. UConn senior Carlos Alvarez scored two goals and added an assist to the delight of a sold out crowd of 5,100 at Morrone Stadium.
With the win the Huskies improve to 7-0-1, 1-0-0 in the Big East. The win also extended UConn’s home unbeaten streak to 31. St. John’s was handed their first loss of the season as they fell to 5-1-3, 0-1-0 Big East.
Before the start of the match, former UConn great Bobby Rhine was honored at midfield. Rhine played for Connecticut from 1994 to 1998. He earned Second Team All-American in his senior season before becoming the first UConn player selected in the MLS Draft. He was picked sixth overall by FC Dallas. Rhine died from a sudden heart attack last September.
A scoreless tie was quickly broken in the 14th minute when senior Max Wasserman crossed the midline and lofted a pass to Alvarez, who was streaking towards the net. Alvarez was swarmed by Red Storm defenders but was able to get a foot on the ball to score the first goal.
“I saw Carlos making a run early, it curved around a defender, then he got at the end of the ball and finished it perfectly,” Wasserman said.
The turning point of the match came in the 31st minute. St. John’s player Daniel Herrera was given a yellow card for tripping UConn midfielder Colin Bradley just outside the Red Storm’s 18-yard box. Immediately after, head referee Kenneth Henriques gave a red card to St. John’s Danny Bedoya.
“I think the ref thought the kid spit on his foot; I didn’t see anything happen,” Wasserman said.
UConn did not convert on the free kick but played the last 59 minutes with a one-man advantage.
“We might have been better off with him not sending the kid off to be honest with you. The guy gave them every call the next 60 minutes,” UConn head coach Ray Reid said.
UConn was given four yellow cards in the final 29 minutes.
In the 69th minute, Wasserman was called for a handball in his own box. As a result, St. John’s was awarded a penalty kick. Hundreds of St. John’s students who made the trip to Storrs began to get loud in anticipation of a tie game. Moments later, St. John’s Jelani Williams sailed his shot 25 feet over the crossbar sending the Connecticut fans into a chorus of cheers.
Ten minutes later, St. John’s goalkeeper Rafael Diaz tripped UConn junior Mamadou Diouf in the penalty box, giving the Huskies a penalty shot of their own. Alvarez lined up and drilled his first attempt into the lower left corner, but the shot was waived off because a player had stepped into the penalty box too soon. Alvarez did not waste any time and made his second shot to give UConn a 2-0 lead. The senior captain has four goals and leads the team with three assists.
In the 83rd minute, Alvarez chipped a pass to sophomore Allando Matheson, who volleyed the ball off his chest to his foot and to the back of the net. The goal was his fourth of the season.
Sophomore Andre Blake made two saves and registered a Big East-leading sixth shutout of the season.
The Huskies travel down-state to play Yale on Tuesday night, then return home for a much anticipated match with conference foe No. 4 Notre Dame on Saturday at 7 p.m.