On a beautiful night in Provo, in front of the largest crowd of the year (1,679), the BYU Cougars Men's soccer team (7-2-0) beat the Real Colorado Foxes (0-6-3) by a score of 2-1. The Cougars were the aggressors all night, but were unable to capitalize on a number of shots which would have put the Foxes away early, but instead pulled away late.
After a 17-day break the Cougars came out a bit rusty as they missed on passes and gave up early turnovers. The Cougars were the aggressors as they attacked and kept the ball on the Foxes side of the field throughout the early minutes. As the game continued, the two teams continued to battle but missed opportunities on both sides left the game scoreless until the ninth minute when Ri Armstrong slipped one past Cougar goalie, Brian Hale, for the first score of the game.
BYU just missed their first goal in the 13th minute when Blake Frischnecht had his kick sail just over the net and out of bounds. The Cougars continued to attack, but couldn't quite get past the tightening defense. In the 21st minute, Real Colorado again threatened, but this time Hale was able to smother the ball and stop the attack. The Cougars took the ball right back down the field, but Scott Heaton was unable to take advantage on two consecutive possessions and BYU stayed scoreless. In the 25th minute the Cougars had a free kick by Ethan Meyer hit into the defense's wall for another missed opportunity.
BYU kept the ball on the Real Colorado side of the field through the first 32 minutes and just missed a goal of the post before turning it over after the corner kick. In the 37th minute, the Cougars again got close, but they couldn't handle the pass and lost the ball in the box. Another corner kick turned into a ball that sailed over the net, leaving the Cougars down 1-0. Strong Cougar defense again kept the Foxes off the board as a one-on-one opportunity turned into a kick out of bounds before a turnover gave the Cougars the ball back. In the 43rd minute, a penalty kick for the Foxes resulted in a missed shot and the Cougars took it back the other way. Another wayward kick for the Cougars sailed over the net in the 44th minute the equalizer in the first half was never achieved before the halftime whistle. BYU dominated the ball for the entire half as they ended up leading 11 shots to two, and three corner kicks to none, but were down at the half 1-0.
The Foxes came out the aggressors in the early part of the second half and nearly put another point on the board in the 46th minute, but a great stop by Hale kept the Cougars alive. In the 49th minute, the Cougars aggression finally paid off as Winston Sorhaitz forced the ball past Real Colorado's goalie, Miguel Rosales, tying up the game at one. Just three minutes later, the Cougars threatened again, but this time Rosales made a spectacular save preserving the tie.
Both teams increased the intensity after the 50th minute as bodies flew across the field and emotions flared. In the 61st minute, Mejia for the Foxes earned a yellow card with a tackle that put both teams on notice. The defense for both teams increased in the second half as the Cougars only managed three shots in the first 20 minutes and the Foxes only attempted one.
The Cougars started to control the game again, but were unable to get close enough for a good shot until the 69th minute when a shot went just wide to the left. The Cougars missed another opportunity when the ball sailed just off the heads of the Cougars and into the hands of Rosales in the 72nd minute. In the 73rd minute, the Cougars Garrett Gee almost slipped another kick past Rosales, but again the save was made keeping the score knotted at one a piece.
With 10 minutes to play it looked like the Cougars would end with their first tie on the year, but in the 82nd minute, a header from Frischnecht, off an assist from Pedro Vasconcelos, put the Cougars up 2-1. With time running out Real Colorado increased the frantic pace of the game and tried to pressure the BYU defense. A Real Colorado free kick in the 88th minute ended with a header going out of bounds to end another threat. With four minutes of stoppage time left, the Foxes tried to put together one last string of runs, but continued to give up the ball. Gee almost had another goal as he just kicked the ball into the side of the net in stoppage time. Near the end of the stoppage time, the Foxes were awarded another yellow card on a tackle that sent Jon Junca out of the game with a shin injury. The final score ended up 2-1, giving the Cougars three points in the standings keeping them in 2nd place.
BYU will next travel to Colorado to take on this same Real Colorado team for two more games on Friday, June 27th and Saturday, June 28th. Both Games start at 7:30 pm. Real Colorado will continue to try and play the spoiler as the Cougars are still in the hunt for the division title as they stand in 2nd place behind FC Tucson.
Don't miss the next home game, and home finale, on July 4th as the Cougars take on the LA Misioneros at 7:30. Make sure to pack the stadium, bring blankets and pillows, and stay after to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks from the stands and the field!!!