Lukas Flippo, Staff Photographer

The last time the Bulldogs faced the University of Connecticut in 2019, Yale emerged as the state’s top dog with a 3–0 win. Two years later, the Huskies flipped the narrative on its head, handing the Blue and White a 4–0 loss.

Yale (2–2–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) entered Tuesday’s contest against UConn (3–1–0, 0–0–0 Big East) with minimal rest after its meeting with UMass Lowell on Saturday. Although the Bulldogs matched the Huskies’ intensity throughout much of the first half, UConn opened scoring in the 33rd minute with a header past Yale goalkeeper and captain Elian Haddock ’23. The Bulldogs never found a way to respond to the 1–0 deficit as the home-team Huskies notched another goal five minutes later, upping the lead to two.

In the second half, the Huskies continued to capitalize on their opportunities, tallying two more goals before the final whistle. The Bulldogs have conceded nine goals in their first four games this season. In 2019, they conceded just 11 goals throughout the entirety of the regular season.

“The pace and 1 vs. 1 attacking we faced against UConn is the best we have seen in a long time, and in combination with that, we simply gave them too much space and time to get comfortable,” Yale men’s soccer head coach Kylie Stannard wrote in an email to the News. “Because of this, we allowed them in too many good, and dangerous positions, which put a lot of pressure on our backs and Elian.”

During the opening 10 minutes, Yale applied pressure to the home team. Just five minutes into the game, midfielder Jules Oberg ’23 rattled off a shot that was blocked by the Huskies. Oberg’s shot was one of five struck by the Elis throughout the course of the game. UConn outshot the Bulldogs 13–5 over the course of the contest.

Despite the Elis’ strong start, the Huskies were opportunistic in the attacking third. UConn converted four out of its five shots on goal during the game. Popping up four times in the box score, midfielder Jayden Reid emerged as the night’s star for the Huskies — the sophomore either scored or assisted on every goal.

In the 33rd minute, Reid whipped an inswinging cross into the box from the left side of the field, finding his teammate Dom Laws, who was waiting in open space between Yale defenders Justin Harris ’25 and TJ Presthus ’25. Laws elevated to head the ball past Haddock into the top left corner of the goal in an acrobatic finish that pleased the home crowd of 1,922.

Reid sparked another chance for the Huskies just five minutes later as he drove down the line and threaded a ball to his teammate, who had time and space inside the box to slot the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.

“I think the biggest adjustment that young players face as they transition to collegiate soccer is physicality,” defender Jake Schaffer ’24 said when asked what challenges younger members of the Bulldog defense face at the collegiate level. “I know that it took me several games to adjust to the physicality, and I expect our younger players to adapt in no time. The older, more experienced players and I need to constantly communicate on and off the field. We need to do everything we can to build chemistry and move as a single unit.”

After his two assists in the first half, Reid picked up where he left off in the second. He found the back of the net to record a goal of his own in the 54th minute. After a turnover from Yale midfielder Sigfus Arnason ’23, left-back Presthus found himself unable to get back on defense, giving Reid time and space to unleash a shot. Cutting the ball back onto his dangerous left foot, the UConn sophomore slotted a clinical finish to Haddock’s right. And before the final whistle, Reid tallied another assist, his third of the game.

Although the Elis only had two full days of rest heading into the UConn matchup, the team now has a week to prepare for its home game against Boston College. The Bulldogs last faced the Eagles in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Yale lost the game, its last match before the pandemic, 3–0.

“We feel very good about how we’ll come back from this and definitely have our sights set on BC now,” Haddock said. “This BC game probably stands out to us a little given how our last season in 2019 ended, but we want to approach this the same way we do every other game.”

The Bulldogs kick off against Boston College next Tuesday at 7 p.m. from Reese Stadium. The game will stream live on ESPN+.