After a 3-1 loss at neighboring rival URI last weekend, the UConn men’s soccer team will try to get back into the win column this Saturday night, when they travel to Omaha, Nebraska. to take on Big East foe Creighton.
The Huskies (2-3-0) have slid recently, as they are looking to snap a two-game losing streak after falling to URI and then No. 15 Syracuse. With the loss of then-top scorer Moussa Wade a few weeks prior, Connecticut has struggled finding the back of the net as of late, getting outscored 8-1 in their last two contests.
UConn has been led by their sole All-Big East Preseason member in sophomore Mateo Leveque. The midfielder has picked up where he left off after a strong freshman campaign, as he currently leads the team in points and assists with six and four, respectively. He only has one goal to his name, but with five shots on goal, Leveque has come close to his second in each of the last two games. Look for him trying to add to his season total on Saturday.
The Huskies’ offense certainly isn’t struggling because of the amount of shots they’ve taken, it’s the idea of capitalizing on the opportunities they create. Despite a losing record, UConn is averaging 15.4 shots per game, almost double the 8.0 they allow to its opponents. Look no further than graduate striker Frantz Pierrot, who has taken the most shots on the team with 20, leading every other Husky by a large margin. Pierrot has had his chances, particularly in one-on-ones, but only has one goal and an assist to show for his efforts. He will certainly get his fair share of looks on Saturday, with the hopes to convert another against a tough Big East opponent on the road. Pierrot scored nine goals in 16 starts for Merrimack last season. He has the skill to score, but he’s still trying to find his rhythm in Storrs.
Creighton (2-1-2) may be 0-1-2 in its last three games, but that shouldn’t take away from its great start to the season, as well as the monster last week it had. While falling for the first time all year to St. Louis, the Bluejays bounced back with two ties, including a 1-1 contest with No. 2 Stanford at home. If Creighton can stay competitive with one of the most elite men’s soccer programs in the nation, they can truly match up with anyone. The latest United Soccer Coaches poll certainly has that sentiment, as the Bluejays is unranked but received votes for yet another week.
One of the key players to watch for Creighton is sophomore Jackson Castro. The recent Big East Offensive Player of the Week scored two of the three goals scored by the Bluejays last week. It was Castro who struck first against San Diego State, burying a shot just 38 seconds into the contest. The Texas native played hero in Omaha a few days later, scoring the equalizer against Stanford in the 74th minute. Look for Castro to try to stay hot and extend his scoring streak on Saturday night in front of his home crowd.
With UConn struggling to put the ball in the net lately, it looks like that trend may continue on Saturday, as the Huskies are facing the Big East Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year in Paul Kruse. The graduate transfer has been through it all, going on five years as the Bluejays’ starter in net. In his last game against Stanford, Kruse saved five shots on target while allowing one goal to the Cardinal offense. He certainly won’t make it easy for Connecticut to score.
Kick-off is set for Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. at Morrison Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. The game will be broadcast live on FloSports with live stats provided by StatBroadcast.