In a hard fought match against the second place Ventura County Fusion, the road to the playoffs for the BYU Cougars became more difficult after they failed to convert on the offensive end.
The final score of the match was 2-0, but the story of the game the Cougar offense.
“We needed to finish,” Chris Watkins, the BYU head coach, said, “We had some chances there tonight.”
The main focus of the game plan for the Cougars was to be positive and convert on every opportunity.
“We wanted to stay positive,” Watkins said. “They’ve scored 27 goals now this season and they are by far the leading scoring team in our division so we wanted to make sure we were optimistic, believed in ourselves and came out and looked for chances.”
BYU stayed positive, but both goals came in the first half. Ventura scored in the 12th minute with a shot into the upper right corner of the net. The second goal was a penalty kick that followed a BYU hand ball in the box.
The Cougars came out more determined to make a run after the halftime discussion.
“The main thing that was written on the board was to be positive,” Watkins said. “They’re going to make a move that’s going to make you look silly sometimes, but you gotta believe when the ball comes to you that you’re ready to go and you’re still confident and know who you are.”
The Cougars came out strong on both ends of the field in the second half. The defense allowed few shots on goal and the only time Ventura threatened the goal was on a penalty kick that was blocked by sophomore goalkeeper Brian Hale. The kick was awarded as the result of a foul in the penalty box by BYU defender Jordan Layton. On the same play Layton went down with an injury that took him out of the game.
“I think he (Layton) dislocated his kneecap,” Watkins said. “It went out and in, so he probably won’t be able to go tomorrow night.”
After the penalty kick, the Cougars continued to push the ball. They seemed to have Ventura on their heels with multiple offensive opportunities in the second half, but in the end the Cougars failed to convert.
“That’s the way it goes too often,” senior defender Douglas Clark said, “We had lots of chances and great teams put away their chances. We’re that close to being a great team.”
The Cougars do not have time to lament this loss as their next match is tomorrow night. The Cougars hope to stay positive and learn from this game.
“I do hope we come out having learned a little bit from tonight in that we’ve got to start a game with a little more confidence,” Watkins said.
The Cougars face the Pali Blues tomorrow night at 8p.m. at the South Field.