The BYU men’s soccer team came out hard this past week, winning one of two games and even sending an opposing player off the field in a stretcher.
Five yellow cards, four injuries and three goals. The men’s team’s 2-1 home loss was action-packed Thursday night. In the 11th minute of the game, BYU forward Garret Losee crashed the goal and collided with Ventura County goalkeeper Sam Hayden.
Losee received a late yellow card following the hit. Hayden rolled on the ground for about 10 minutes before being carried off the field. An ambulance took Hayden to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion and received an MRI.
Ventura County forward Jochen Graf volunteered to take Hayden’s place in goal for the remainder of the game, even though he’d never played keeper before.
“Hayden is a good friend of mine, [so] when they asked who would step up, I had to help my friend,” Graf said. “Sometimes you have to do what it takes to help the team.”
Despite having a rookie keeper in the net, the Cougars still struggled to score. They had plenty of opportunities but couldn’t finish. In the 81st minute, freshman Winston Sorhaitz scored his first goal in his first college start to tie the game.
“It was unreal,” Sorhaitz said. “It felt great to get that first college goal. We just should’ve had more.”
In the 92nd minute, Ventura County’s Daniel Steres headed the game winner into the net off a corner kick.
When asked about the disappointing finish, BYU head coach Chris Watkins said, “it was a hard fought game. We played well, I thought we controlled the ball well … we just need to score goals.”
And the team did just that to pull of its first home win of the season Saturday night. The Cougars beat the Los Angeles Legends 3-1.
Sorhaitz scored in the eighth minute of the game, and sophomore forward Jace Green scored a rebound goal only five minutes later.
“We caught them off guard,” Watkins said. “We could tell that they were a little lackadaisical in warmups and based on our record they weren’t taking us seriously.”
In the 42nd minute, junior defender Doug Clark also scored his first goal of the season. After a corner kick bounced past three other BYU players in the box, Clark rocked a shot from 35 yards out that snuck past the keeper and put the Cougars up 3-0.
“It felt awesome!” Clark said. “I saw it bouncing toward me and I knew I had it.”
Late in the first half, BYU was called for a foul in the penalty area that resulted in a penalty kick for the Legends. BYU goalie Cory Cosgrave made an athletic diving stop on Victor Sanchez’s shot to end the half.
Despite the team’s strong defensive efforts during the second half, Los Angeles forward Victor Flores scored the Legend’s only goal in the 56th minute.
Watkins said he was proud of his team and excited to get such a strong win at home.
“It feels great,” Watkins said. “Scoring three goals in a win like this really builds confidence in a struggling team.”