Men’s soccer prepares for away games this weekend

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    By Brenna Jackson

    Despite having half of the starting lineup out with injuries, the BYU men”s soccer team is gearing up to face the Tacoma F.C. and the Yakima Reds on the road this weekend.

    In the past two weeks, BYU has suffered five serious injuries, all to starting players. Both midfielder Steve Magleby and forward Jake Cavanaugh are out with severe groin pulls, defenders Morgan Gilliam and Mason McMullin have fractured ankles and defender Ken Ojuka pulled his quadriceps muscle.

    “With respect to our players being injured, we miss them, they are starters and talented but we have a very strong bench,” midfielder Curtis Graham said. “The players that have taken their spots are very good. I”m not worried, we”ll miss them, but we”re a very talented team.”

    This weekend will be the second time this season the Cougars play the two teams. Earlier, they beat Tacoma 3-0, and Yakima 3-1.

    Since playing BYU, the Tacoma F.C. has only won one game bringing its record to 1-3-3. Tacoma is currently ranked last in the Northwest Division while the Cougars are No. 1.

    The Yakima Reds are 2-4-1 and No. 4 in the division. The Reds recently beat the Abbotsford Rangers, whom the Cougars lost to this weekend.

    After losing to the Rangers Friday, BYU had a crucial win against the Cascade Surge, 4-0, the only other team who has been able to defeat the Cougars this season.

    While both Tacoma and Yakima will enter the games fresh, the Cougars will be playing their second and third games respectively after their opening game of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday.

    “In soccer, ideally you play once every three days,” head coach Chris Watkins said. “It”s a good problem to have, but it”s going to be a struggle for us to be able to compete in all three games.”

    The team”s busy week also included coaching a youth soccer camp, which was held everyday.

    “It tires us out a little,” midfielder David Clark said. “We practiced on Monday, which we usually have off. We”re going to be a little tired, but I think since we”ve trained and conditioned so much, we should be ok.”

    BYU plans on using this weekend”s games to defend its No. 1 seed.

    “We”re on the road we want to at least come home with a split,” Watkins said. “I”ll be happy if we can get two out of three this weekend. That should maintain our lead in first place. Ultimately that”s our goal.”

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