The Cougar’s soccer squad put on an Independence Day firework show of their own Wednesday night, rocketing home three goals in route to a 3-1 victory over the Ogden Outlaws. The game was close throughout, but BYU netted two late goals to seal the win.
“It was a great feeling being able to win in front of our fans,” sophomore defender Sterling Hancock said. “We stuck to our game and we proved that we were definitely the better team tonight.”
Each team had excellent scoring chances negated by stellar defensive plays in the first half. Despite squandering early opportunities, the Cougars were able to break through in the final minute of first-half stoppage time with a goal from senior midfielder Josh Patino.
“I certainly thought we were the better team tonight,” head coach Chris Watkins said. “It felt a little like some of the games where we didn’t pull it off, so I’m proud of our guys for really bouncing back and getting a goal just before half.”
The goal put the Cougars ahead 1-0, but the Outlaws began the second half aggressively and quickly evened the score with a goal by forward Daniel Burnham. The game remained tied for more than 20 minutes before sophomore forward Jace Green blasted home his fourth goal of the year off a perfect cross from teammate Garret Losee in the 70th minute. Losee scored a goal of his own in the 81st minute to ice the win for BYU.
Because this was the last home game of the year, Josh Patino, BYU’s lone senior, was honored before the game. The Glencoe, Minnesota native made his first career start for the Cougars in front of a season-high 2,026 fans. Fittingly enough, it was Patino who knocked home the game’s first goal, and the first goal of his career.
“It was a dream come true,” Patino said. “It was one of those nights that I don’t know the words for it. Like a happy ending to a storybook type of game.”
Patino, who plans to pursue a career in coaching, was accompanied by his wife, the team he coaches and a rare visitor from out of town.
“I’m especially grateful because my dad was here tonight,” Patino said. “He drove out from Minnesota late Monday night to be here, so I’m glad he was able to see me play and to finish that opportunity.”
The win moved the Cougars into fourth place in the Southwest division with three games remaining. In order to qualify for the playoffs, the squad will need to finish in either first or second place in the division. BYU will travel to play second place FC Tuscon on Friday before facing division leader Ventura County Fusion on July 13. If the Cougars are to make the playoffs, they will likely need to win both games.
“We’re playing the best teams in our league, but we’ve proven that we can play with them just as well,” Hancock said. “We just need to finish our chances like we did tonight.”