UConn Huskies to take on Dartmouth
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 22:08
The University of Connecticut men’s soccer team, ranked No. 5, face their second opponent of the season, Dartmouth, tonight at 7 p.m., at Morrone Stadium.
Coming off the back of a 1-0 win over St. Francis (NY), UConn will look to continue to build a solid foundation for the tougher matches later in the season.
Despite winning 1-0 last week, UConn slipped one place in the NSCAA Coaches Poll from fourth to fifth, with South Florida leapfrogging them. The opponent and score line is to blame for UConn’s fall in the polls. But the score line flattered St. Francis (NY), who never really carried any attacking intent with them if not for poor finishing, UConn could have put St. Francis to the sword and won 5-0.
UConn’s opponent tonight, Dartmouth, has yet to play this season and will be playing their debut in the lion’s den of a packed Morrone Stadium.
Last season, Dartmouth finished with an 8-6-4 record and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. An early-season draw with South Florida and key wins over South Carolina, UMass and Cornell show that Dartmouth will be a real test for UConn.
Oddly enough, the two did have a common opponent last season in Providence College. UConn faced Providence at home and won 2-1, but it was the first time UConn had given up a goal in 10 matches. Dartmouth played the Friars in the first round of the NCAA tournament, losing 1-0, but they had more shots and corners away from home.
You need to look all the way back to 2009 to find the last time UConn played Dartmouth, when the two teams battled it out to a 0-0 draw in the Nike Hypertherm Classic at Dartmouth. Even three years in, the squad contains three players involved in that match: Carlos Alvarez, Jossimar Sanchez, and Stephane Diop. Alvarez, who wore the No.7 shirt then, took one of UConn’s four shots.
UConn could make some tactical personnel changes to reflect what should be a tougher challenge than St. Francis was last week. Sophomore forward Allando Matheson could get the start for George Fochive, or Adria Beso could be left out for the more defensive Sean Weir or the more box-to-box Juho Karppinen. Even more drastic would be a change in formation from 4-3-3 to a more straight forward 4-4-2. However with the strength of Dartmouth’s midfield such a formation change from UConn would be unlikely.
After the Dartmouth match on Friday night, UConn will take on Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich. just 60 hours later. This means we could see lots of squad rotation, to keep the players fresh for later in the season. Next Friday, UConn will take on Washington University in a nationally-televised match, which will be seen on Fox Soccer Channel as their NSCAA Game of the Week.