The Cougar men’s soccer team downed LA Blues 23 in a 2-0 home win to finish off its Premier Development League season.
It was the last game in a BYU uniform for seniors BJ Pugmire and Cory Cosgrave, who were honored before the game.
“It was a great way to end the season and my college career,” Pugmire said, as he was signing autographs for younger fans. “We had some good chances, the team did really well and it was a fun game to play.”
The Cougars came out hungry for a win, and it showed in the way they played. They owned possession of the ball throughout the first half, which created a lot of chances to score.
BYU continued to struggle to get its shots on target before Pugmire scored his sixth goal of the season in the 23rd minute. The goal came off a corner kick that bounced through the box and was sent back across by junior defender Doug Clark. Pugmire was in the right spot to stick out his left foot and redirect the ball into the net.
“It was the easiest goal I’ve gotten this season,” Pugmire said.
The Cougars continued their offensive attack throughout the first half. The only chances LA Blues 23 saw came from free kicks awarded after BYU penalties.
“We are way too relaxed … we are sleeping back here,” LA Blues 23 coach Federico Bianchi said. “We need to take advantage of our chances and use their fouls.”
The last time the two schools played, LA Blues 23 scored three goals off set pieces and free kicks.
“Not giving up unneeded fouls was the number one thing on our board before this game,” BYU coach Chris Watkins said. “We need to start playing a little smarter.”
The Cougars did not let up in the second half. They continued to keep possession, make runs and take shots against the frustrated Blues 23 defense. BYU took a total of 30 shots throughout the game. Many of the shots were just off the mark, and Clark rocked a long free kick off the crossbar in the 75th minute.
LA Blues 23 was only able to get three shots off because of BYU’s strong defense.
“As a defense, we are always looking to keep the ball safe — defense first,” sophomore defender Ethan Meyer said. “It really helps that we’ve got James [Bindrup] and Colby [Bauer] in the middle. We just play to them and they distribute.”
BYU used a lot of substitutions in the second half to get some fresh legs into the game. This proved beneficial when three of the players off the bench worked together to score in the 83rd minute.
The Cougars were awarded a corner that was sent into the box and headed toward the goal by freshman forward Jace Green. The keeper came out to grab the ball, but it was headed out of his grasp by freshman midfielder Dallin Cutler and finally tapped into the net by junior forward Garrett Gee.
BYU held on to the 2-0 lead and finished the game, and the season, with a shutout win.
“I was very proud of the guys tonight,” Watkins said. “We improved on last years points and goals allowed. We don’t only base our success on wins and losses.”
Despite the loss of this season’s leading scorer, Pugmire, and goalkeeper, Cosgrave, the Cougars still look forward to a promising future.
“We are going to return a lot of guys next year,” Watkins said. “We went young this year for a reason. Winston [Sorhaitz] and Dallin [Cutler] will both be here through next season and [Garrett] Gee is really developing his game. We will be underdogs again next year but we will be ready for the challenge.”