Sophomore Matheson leads Huskies past Dartmouth
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 01:09
Sophomore forward Allando Matheson put in a “man of the match” performance, Friday, Aug. 31, notching a second half goal and assist to propel the No. 5 ranked UConn men’s soccer team to a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory over Dartmouth.
The win gives Uconn an unblemished 2-0-0 record, while Dartmouth starts off the season 0-0-1.
Starting the match well, UConn dominated much of the possession in the first half but could not breech the cohesive defensive unit presented by Dartmouth.
Early in the second half UConn earned a set piece opportunity 35 yards from goal, which they took full advantage of with right back Max Wasserman serving up a perfect cross for substitute Matheson to head in and give UConn a 1-0 lead.
The next 30 minutes followed the same script as the first 50, UConn maintaining most of the ball possession and passing it around in the Dartmouth half, looking for that pinpoint pass to cut open the tightly-knit Dartmouth defense.
But late drama was in store for the crowd of 3,705, with Dartmouth leveling the match with just five seconds left, taking full advantage of UConn’s uncharacteristic pushing men forward late, despite already having the lead.
“I think we kind of thought we had the game finished, and well, it wasn’t,” said Wasserman. “We kinda broke down. Six seconds left, it can’t happen.”
In overtime, it took UConn less than 300 seconds to win the match, as Matheson stole the ball from the Dartmouth center back just outside the Big Green 18-yard box. He calmly slid the ball to strike partner Mamadou Doudou Diouf, who placed the ball into the side netting, giving UConn a 2-1 victory.
Coming off the bench, sophomore forward Allando Matheson was the spark that UConn needed. Holding up play well and being a physical presence upfront, Matheson was the perfect target man to supplement the crosses that UConn turned to late in the match.
“We all know we play better once we get that first goal, so that’s all I was thinking about,” said Matheson.
“The two [Dartmouth] center backs played very well all night, but I figured if I got a run on them I could out jump them, but if I was standing still, they would probably get the best of me. And once I got them on the run it was over.”
Coach Ray Reid also had high praise for Matheson.
“Obviously he changed the game for us, not just the goal and the assist, but just his play. [It] was probably his best play in two years,” said Reid.
Reid also noted the importance of playing in mentally taxing matches early in the season.
“Look at the resiliency of the group, to give up a goal with six seconds left and then to win the game again, you got to say this group is pretty resilient, pretty mentally tough,” said Reid.
The UConn men’s soccer team will face Washington next Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m., in a nationally televised match, which will be seen on Fox Soccer Channel for their NSCAA Game of the Week.