The BYU mens’ soccer found themselves on the road for their first regular-season game Tuesday night, coming home with a 3-1 victory over the Orange County Blue Strikers Football Club.
BYU let a strikers’ goal through early on in the game to bring the score to 0-1. In an effort to even the score, defender Doug Clark passed the ball up to Kip Critchlow who scored, tying the score 1-1.
Clark scored the second goal of the night off of a penalty kick from forward Johnathan Junca. This second goal helped BYU to pull ahead of the Strikers 2-1. In the final minutes of the game Junca chipped the ball over the Strikers’ goalie, sealing a 3-1 victory for BYU.
“It was a great win,” head coach Chris Watkins said. “We’re really proud of our guys. Any win on the road in our league is a huge accomplishment that really validates the hard work we did in the preseason.”
Watkins was excited for the victory, adding that the win was a great way for the team to start off the season.
“It’s a huge boost,” coach Watkins said. “Winning our first game is something we haven’t done in a while.” BYU participates in the semi-pro USL Premier Development League. Coach Watkins believes that this early win on the road will help build up the team’s confidence. It shows BYU has what it takes to compete against tougher, more experienced teams.
Midfielder Colby Bauer suffered a broken nose in the game after getting an elbow to the face in a 50-50 struggle for the ball. He may have to sit out in BYU’s next game against the Fresno Fuego on Thursday night.
BYU’s next three games will be on the road. BYU will return to play in Provo on Friday May 31.