UConn soccer is back on the winning track
Huskies rebound from loss with 2-0 win over Iona
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 00:10
After losing their first game of the season to Big East rival Marquette on Saturday, the No. 6 UConn men’s soccer team bounced back and beat the Iona Gaels, 2-0, at a frigid Morrone Stadium on Tuesday night.
Although the Huskies (11-1-1) weren’t able to get on the board in the first half, they came out firing in the second. In the 49th minute, junior striker Mamadou Doudou Diouf made two step-over moves past two Iona defenders about 30 yards away from the net. Diouf flicked the ball ahead to sophomore substitute striker Allando Matheson, who was met at the top of the 18-yard box by the keeper. Matheson didn’t get a solid strike on the ball, and the keeper was able to chase the ball down just short of the goal line and knock it out for a corner.
Matheson would get his revenge just two minutes later, however. Senior midfielder Stephane Diop streaked down the left sideline, faked a cross with his left foot, cut back and crossed it with his right. The ball deflected off an Iona defender and popped up right to Matheson, who headed the ball in for his seventh goal of the year. The Huskies went up 1-0 and wouldn’t look back.
“I don’t remember much of the goal,” Matheson said. “I remember being in the box, it deflected off a guy and [I] just got my head on it and put it on frame.”
Matheson lifted his jersey in celebration after the goal, donning a t-shirt that read “Dedicated to #44.” The shirt was in honor of senior captain Jossimar Sanchez, who was knocked out for the remainder of the season in the Marquette game.
After the goal, Iona (3-8) started to press forward, which opened up the counter-attack for UConn. Following a clearance in UConn’s third in the 79th minute, sophomore midfielder Adria Beso connected with Diouf by playing a ball over the left back. Diouf ran it down at the edge of the 18-yard box, and also utilized the same fake cross that Diop used earlier in the game. The Iona keeper came out of his net to challenge Diouf, so UConn’s leading goal scorer popped an arcing chip over the keeper. The ball found the back of the net to beat the Iona defense that was racing back to defend the counter. It was Diouf’s ninth goal of the season and sealed the game for the Huskies.
“I just got it the first time and was thinking about crossing it,” Diouf said. “I cut it and saw the goalie close the angle, so I chipped it.”
Head Coach Ray Reid said it was a “brilliant goal from a brilliant player.”
The Huskies have the next eight days off because their originally scheduled game against West Virginia was vacated after the Mountaineers moved to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do in the next 70 days, but we’re in a good spot,” Reid said. “The break couldn’t come at a better time.”
UConn’s next game is at home against Seton Hall on Oct. 17.