On a beautiful soccer night, and in front of more than a thousand fans, the BYU soccer team finished their season with a 3-2 loss in a friendly with the Real Monarchs of the United Soccer League. The Game was a hard fought battle throughout and both teams entertained the crowd. Real Monarchs started off strong and threatened in the fourth minute but a nice stop by Cougars goalkeeper Jake Peterson kept the ball out of the net. BYU would come right back at the Monarchs and in the sixth minute as Pedro Vasconeclos passed the ball across the field to a waiting Garret Gee who slipped the ball past Monarchs goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez for the 1-0 lead.
The Cougars and Monarchs continued to battle it out and in the 14th minute the Monarchs had a golden opportunity to score when a penalty just outside the box earned the Monarchs a free kick. Facing the sun the Cougars front line stopped the kick but a rebound shot made it to Peterson before he pulled it down. Both teams continued to play aggressive but the defenses kept the offenses from quality shots. Once again Peterson came through with a spectacular save as a corner kick found it's way into the box and threatened the Cougars lead.
In the 41st minute BYU once again found the back of the net as Vasconeclos earned his second assist of the game in a pass to Christian Bain who juked his way into a 2-0 lead for the Cougars. Neither team would find the net again in the first half and the teams went to the locker room with a BYU 2-0 lead.
Once again the Cougars faced a team that was on their heels as they came out of the locker room. The Monarchs began to pressure the Cougars on both sides of the field as play became a little chippy. In the 49th minute the Monarchs looked to have found the net before an offside call negated the goal. Keeping the ball on the Cougars side of the field, the Cougars were called for another penalty just feet outside the box, earning another free kick. With very little room for error the kick curved around the line and found the corner of the net for the Monarchs first goal of the night.
In the 56th minute the Monarchs decided to keep the pressure on as they subbed in almost the entire team with fresh legs. BYU seemed to be a bit back on their heels but in the 70th minute they just missed a chance to increase the lead but a great save by the Monarchs kept it 2-1. With renewed energy the Monarchs pressed again and took a beautiful shot that required an incredible diving save from Peterson.
Throughout the second half Coach Watkins gave each of his seniors a moment in the spotlight as he subbed them out one at a time with Jace Green being the final sub in the 79th minute. Each senior left the game to a cheering crowd and coaches and teammates waiting with open arms. Shortly after the Cougars subbed out Green the Monarchs once again took the offense into high gear and slipped the ball past Brenden Ottman for the equalizer. Facing continued pressure the Cougars defense once again failed to play a full game as they conceded yet another goal. Suddenly down 3-2 in the 83rd minute the Cougars became frantic as they tried to tie up the game. After a Monarchs yellow card in the 86th minute the Cougars earned a free kick but an offside call on the Cougars negated their tying goal. The Cougars continued to battle but couldn't capitalize in the final minutes and dropped the game 3-2. The Cougars finished the season 1-9-5 after earning a win due to the Real Colorado forfeit.
With another season over look for a retooled and hungry team to come back next year. With the return of Pedro Vasconeclos, Ethan Meyer, and Brenden Ottman, and key players returning from missions, the Cougars should be exciting to watch yet again. Thanks for another exciting PDL season!