On a picture perfect night for soccer, the BYU Cougars faced off against the Real Colorado Foxes in the Cougars' home opener. In the end, the Cougars were unable to overcome defensive lapses and ended the game in a 2-2 tie.
The Cougars and Foxes started the game feeling each other out and after five minutes neither team had attempted a shot. The Cougars looked to draw first blood in the seventh minute but the Foxes defense held up and kept the Cougars out of the box. BYU had another chance in the 9th minute as a yellow card on the Foxes Blake McNelis turned into a free kick, and then a corner kick, for the cougars but a Dallin Cutler shot went over the net. A minute later the Cougars scored the first goal of the game as Pedro Vasconcelos hit a cross pass to Jace Green who timed his header perfectly and the ball slipped past the Foxes goal keeper for a 1-0 Cougars lead.
Real Colorado couldn't seem to get things going for the first 20 minutes as they didn't record a shot but in the 22nd minute the Foxes found a bit of luck. With the ball on the BYU side of the field the Foxes pressured the defense into a penalty in the box by Brenden Ottman. The Foxes hit the penalty kick to tie the game, and put pressure back on BYU. The goal for the Foxes appeared to energize the team as they pushed and prodded the BYU defense and it looked like they would take the lead in the 28th minute. After a beautiful double header that was slipped into the net, the officials determined the Foxes were offsides and discounted the goal. On the subsequent possession the Cougars took back the lead on yet another Green header. With the 2-1 lead the Cougars appeared to be in control.
Once again the Cougars defense lost their focus and allowed the Foxes to spend time on the BYU side of the field. Another penalty by the Cougars led the Foxes to once again receive a penalty kick but Ottman was able to block the shot and clear the ball. After the Cougars cleared the ball the Foxes pushed the ball down the feild and in a rare lapse of judgement, Ottman came out on a long kick and misjudged the ball as he tried to head the ball outside the box and allowed it over his head. With no defender to stop him the Foxes dropped the ball into the net for the equalizer. After 45 minutes of play the teams went into the locker room in the same position as they started, with the score tied.
Both teams came out of the locker room aggressive and ready to play. Along with the aggressive play came more physicality and a few more penalties in the early minutes, but no scoring followed. As the game continued, the pace of play tapered off and players from both teams seemed to slow down and a slew of substitutions allowed fresh legs into the game. In the 73rd minute the Cougars found themselves on the Foxes side of the field and a nice cross pass was kicked just wide of the goal post, keeping the score knotted at two. In the 78th minute the Cougars took a penalty kick and just missed another header over the net. On the ensuing corner kick the Cougars kept the pressure on the Foxes but were unable to turn a couple of shots into goals.
The Cougars received another corner kick in the 81st minute but again the Foxes defense held and turned the Cougars away. In the 85th minute the Cougars received a scare as Vasconcelos went down with an ankle injury but was able to get up. Both teams fought hard in the second half but regulation ended with no scoring. With five minutes of injury time the Cougars continued to be aggressive but corner kicks and shots on goal weren't enough to put the game away. With the 2-2 tie the Cougars earned a point in the PDL standings.
BYU and Real Colorado will play again Saturday night at 7:30 at South Field. The game will once again be streamed live online. You can catch all the action with our online stream of the game here.