The BYU men’s soccer team celebrated Independence Day with a 3-2 home win against FC Tucson. This was BYU’s first time playing FC Tucson, and the two teams will face off again in two weeks for the last home game of the season.
The Cougars were determined to win the moment they stepped on the field. BYU’s forwards immediately began attacking the goal. Forward Jace Green focused on holding the ball at the top, allowing the rest of the team to move up the field and help the offense with its goal attack. This strategy caught the FC Tucson players by surprise, but they quickly became aggressive when they realized BYU took advantage of their defensive mistakes.
Garrett Gee fell to the ground after a hard tackle against an FC Tucson defender. After the foul was called, Gee was kicked in the face by the defender. The referee gave the FC Tucson defender a yellow card for an intentional foul committed after the ball was no longer in play.
BYU kept its composure and maintained possession of the ball despite the over-aggression from FC Tucson. BYU was rewarded with a goal from Tanner Whitworth. BYU only had a few minutes left until halftime to hold onto its lead. Defender James Bindrup had an amazing defensive half blocking several through balls and winning numerous one-on-one tackles. A majority of the pressure on the defense came on Bindrup’s side of the field. But he never let up, allowing the half time score to remain 1-0.
A few minutes into the second half, BYU suffered a defensive breakdown. FC Tucson found an open player in the box and scored. BYU tried to regain possession, but FC Tucson maintained its pace and scored another goal, giving it the lead, 1-2. BYU continued to work hard as coaches made offensive substitutions, providing fresh legs to put pressure on the goal. Trevor Henderson scored after a few minutes of stepping on the field. Blake Frischkenecht later received the ball out on the wing and took his time to allow Bryson Pope to make a run toward the back post of the goal; Pope was able to finish the game with a goal, 3-2.
The victory was followed by Tanner Whitworth opened his mission call. Whitworth announced to all his family, teammates and fans that he will serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Dominican Republic.
BYU will face the Pali Blues in another home game at South Field on July 6 at 7:30 p.m. In their previous game, the Cougars beat the Blues 3-1.