Before a night filled with fireworks celebrating the 4th of July, the BYU men's soccer team faced off against the LA Misioneros in front of a season high 2,957 fans at South Field. With the Cougars undefeated home streak on the line, both teams fought hard, but the game ended with both teams failing to earn the advantage and ending in a 2-2 tie. Although the game continued the unbeaten streak, the Cougars only earned 1 point for the game and sit five points behind FC Tucson with their game yet to be finished.
The Cougars once again started off aggressive and had three shots in the first seven minutes while allowing LA to have limited touches on offense. With shots in the 1st minute and the 4th minute the Cougars kept the pressure on early, but failed to capitalize. In the 6th minute it appeared that LA would put up the first point of the game, but an offsides call took away the goal.
In the 7th minute the Cougars slipped a corner kick to Blake Frishknecht who just missed the header as it sailed over the net. While getting good shots on the offensive side of the field, the Cougars played strong defense, which kept LA from getting easy shots. In the 11th minute the Cougars again couldn't capitalize on a penalty as a trip gave Winston Sorhaitz a kick but he couldn't find the net. Just minutes later, in the 15th, Kip Critchlow forced Jose Miranda to come out of the box but couldn't get the ball past him as Miranda made a fantastic save keeping the score at 0-0.
BYU controlled the game for the first 22 minutes and even with short bursts from the Misioneros, neither team could get the ball past the goalies. In the 23rd minute the Cougars finally found the net as Sorhaitz led a breakaway that again brought Miranda out to defend and a slight deflection and open net shot gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
Playing with a little desperation the Misioneros upped their intensity and in the 29th minute it paid off. Kwabueze Kyrian slipped past the Cougars defense and with a tackle in the box earned a penalty kick that Goalie Brian Hale was unable to knock away. Knotted at one goal apiece, the two teams had chances to take the lead, but a terrific save by Hale and a close miss by Garrett Gee gave the Cougars a 5-2 shot lead, but kept the teams tied going into the locker room.
BYU once again came out the aggressor and kept the ball on the Misioneros side of the field for the early minutes. The intensity paid off in the 52nd minute as Colby Bauer slipped a header past Miranda to take the 2-1 lead. This time LA wasted no time in scoring the equalizer as Bryan De LA Fuente rocketed a shot past Hale, tying the score at 2.
The intensity for both teams lead to physical play and in the 60th minute LA Midfielder Alex Mendoza earned a yellow card, but the Cougars were unable to take advantage and went away empty handed. In the 70th minute the Misioneros forced an incredible save from Hale when LA went one on one with him and he came out to save the goal.
Both teams continued to press and the Cougars continued to misfire on opportunities, including a header that went wide in the 72nd minute. The Misioneros just missed taking the lead when a shot went off the post before the Cougars could clear it. By the 80th minute mark the Cougars still lead with a 9-4 advantage in shots.
Once the 80th minute hit, both teams started to play with some desperation and emotions began to flare. BYU earned a kick just outside the box in the 85th minute but Frischknecht slipped it just left of the net. The Cougars had a couple more attempts before regulation and stoppage time ran out, but shots and headers continued to sail wide of the goal. LA misfired on a few final shots in stoppage time as well, but frustration boiled over and Alex Mendoza earned a red card and a late ejection. With the shot from the penalty going wide, the game ended in a 2-2 tie.
The Cougars will stay home to take on the Albuquerque Sol on Tuesday, July 8th at 7:30 pm at South Field. This will be the final regular season home game for the Cougars before finishing it off in Albuquerque on Saturday. The Cougars will be celebrating the Seniors on the team, so make sure you come out and show your support!