The BYU Cougars were looking to bounce back after a slow start to the season as they dropped their first two games of the PDL season. The night after a 2-1 loss to Albuquerque the Cougars were set to face off against division leading FC Tucson. Needing a win, but working on tired legs as they played their second game in as many nights, the Cougars fought to earn their first point of the season.
The first half found the Cougars playing on their heels early as Tucson attacked from the start and the Cougars appeared to be a step slow. The aggressive play gave Tucson a number of scoring chances but the Cougars defense did just enough to keep them out of the net. Tucson had the first legitimate opportunity as they found a shot from inside the box but the score stayed at zero as Tucson slipped as they kicked the ball, giving the Cougars defense a chance to recover.
The majority of the first half was played on the BYU side of the field and the Cougars found limited opportunities to get good shots on goal. The play was clean in the first half with a couple of yellow cards awarded to the Cougars for hard fouls, but it didn't appear that either team wanted the game to get out of hand. Tucson had their best chance to score in the half after a BYU foul on their own half of the field and a free kick was awarded to Tucson. With a long kick and a beautiful header, Tucson looked to score but the ball struck the pole and never crossed the line. The Cougars defense quickly collapsed on the ball and were able to clear it to end the threat. After playing defensive ball for most of the half, the Cougars had to be happy to find themselves headed to the locker room with a 0-0 tie.
The Cougars came out more aggressive in the second half and had a couple of early chances on goal but were unable to capitalize. FC Tucson also had early chances but the Cougars thwarted each attempt. As the pace picked up the physicality also increased and tempers began to flair. After a kick to clear the ball ended up with a ball to the head of a Tucson player, a couple of players started to push and shove but cooler heads prevailed and the teams played on.
Tucson once again had golden opportunities to put points on the board but great defense inside the box kept the game scoreless. In the 62nd minute Tucson once again found themselves with the ball in the box but a kick off the side of the foot caused the ball to sail over the net. On their next possession they once again forced the ball deep into BYU territory but a great save by goal keeper Brenden Ottman kept Tucson off the board.
After the initial surge by the Cougars they went back to their defensive game-plan as Pedro Vasconcelos left with an injury and was replaced with more defense. In the 70th minute of play Tucson received a free kick from 23 yards out and had a perfect shot to take the lead, but Ottman again prevented a score. The Cougars earned a corner kick in the 80th minute but couldn't capitalize as it was cleared by a Tucson header. In the 85th minute Tucson once again found themselves in the box with the ball but couldn't pull out a goal. After a subsequent penalty on the Cougars, Tucson had another shot on goal that went just wide.
With one final chance at a point the Cougars earned a free kick in extra time but a nice save by the keeper kept the ball out of the net. With the 0-0 final the Cougars earn one point on the road, their first of the year, and a 0-2-1 record on the year. BYU will play their next game on Friday, June 5th at 7:30 pm MST against Real Colorado at South Field.