Coming off a disappointing 2-1 road loss to Ogden on Saturday night, the BYU men’s soccer team is looking forward to playing the final game of the season on its home field.
BYU faces LA Blues 23 at 8 p.m. today at South Field. Tickets cost $6.
“We are all really excited to play this week and we have a lot to prove going into this game,” sophomore midfielder Garrett Losee said. “We just want to go out, finish our chances and defend more consistently on free kicks.”
The last time these teams met, June 17 in Los Angeles, the Cougars lost a 2-0 early lead and came away with a 3-2 loss. BYU senior forward BJ Pugmire scored in the first minute of the game, and Losee scored in the 22nd minute. Despite the early Cougar attack, Los Angeles took over and scored three goals in 38 minutes to put the game away.
“All their [LA Blues’] goals last game came just after set pieces,” BYU coach Chris Watkins said. “We have been spending more time this week practicing defending set pieces and making sure we have our marks.”
The Cougars have a season record of 3-8-4, and many of their losses came in the closing minutes of hard-fought games.
“The guys really want to get out there and prove they are better than the record shows,” Watkins said.
Blues 23 is currently ranked sixth in the division and is only two points behind BYU. A win tonight would boost Los Angeles above the Cougars.
“We all want to finish the season with a win. That would be good closure for us,” sophomore defender Junior Lartey said. “It would sum up the season the way every game should have gone.”
Los Angeles has allowed 33 goals this season, the second most in the division, which should help BYU’s scoring struggles. Blues 23 logged only a single road win this season and is coming off a 2-1 road loss to the undefeated, top-ranked Fresno Fusion last Thursday.
“At their field we found gaps and scored a couple of goals,” junior defender Doug Clark said. “I think we’ll be able to score a few again. It will be a fun game to watch.”
The Cougars hope to end the season with a home win and match last season’s four wins.
“It’s a must win since it’s the season closer,” freshman forward Winston Sorhaitz said. “We should win, and although the playoffs aren’t an option for us anymore, everyone is excited and determined to win.”
Watkins said BYU has four seniors on its roster, three of whom will graduate in April and will have the option to play for the Cougars again next summer. Pugmire will not return next season. This will be his last match in a BYU uniform.
“We are way excited about the game [today]. We really want to end the season on a high note,” Pugmire said. “We hope to have a good crowd and put on a show for them. It’s definitely a little surreal that it’s my last game, but at the same time, I’m excited. I’ve loved the guys on the team this year and it’s been a good experience.”