By Jill Ivie
The Cougar men”s soccer team is looking to end its seven-game losing streak tonight, June 13, as they host the Orange County Blue Stars.
Facing them for the second time this season, the Cougars lost to the Blue Stars on May 24, 4-5, in California.
“We scored on four of our eight shots last time,” coach Chris Watkins said. “We hope that continues, but shooting that kind of percentage is pretty rare.”
The game against the Blue Stars, which is the LA Galaxy”s reserve team, was the Cougar”s highest scoring game of the season.
In preparation for tonight”s match, BYU has been working on strategies to neutralize the long offensive game the Blue Stars like to run.
“They like to play a 40 or 50 yard game that can get over the top of our defense easier,” Watkins said. “They can make us play facing our own goal which is difficult for us.”
The Cougar men have also continued practice on their physical game and their finishing touches.
“We have reestablished physical play as our foundation,” Watkins said.
The Cougars will feel the absence of starting goalie, Erik Walunas, who dislocated his finger during half-time warm-ups in last week”s game against the Fresno Fuego.
BYU will also miss the play of starters Travis Winn and Chad Oyler, who are both out with knee injuries. Nate Lowe will also be absent from tonight”s match.
Blue Star players Ryan Coiner and Matthew Taylor, both tied for eighth in the Premier Development League for goals scored, are two to watch challenge the Cougar defensive line.
Cougar Matt Affleck is tied for second in the PDL for shots taken, with 36. He will have to get by Blue Star keeper Daniel Kennedy, who is tied for third in the PDL for most shutouts, to end his team”s two-game goal drought.
Following tonight”s match, the Cougar”s will be on the road for two weeks with games in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. They will return home on July 5 to face the Utah Blitzz.
The Cougars and Blue Stars will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. on BYU”s South Field.