Last week The Cougars’ offense started slow and ended strong. This week it was just the opposite.
On May 17, BYU men’s soccer kept its winning streak alive after beating the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1.
After a close call with FC Tucson last week, the Cougars knew what they needed to do to win: come out strong and fast, early.
“We worked so hard in practice,” said Blake Frischknecht, a forward from Las Vegas, Nevada. “Before the game coach came up to me and told me to go as hard as I can from the start.”
Frischknecht did come out hard, getting BYU two quick goals, one of which came off of a penalty kick.
BYU controlled the tempo for most of the first half with great play from the midfielders.
“This week in practice we worked on keeping our midfielders all the way up in the offensive third and then all the way back to make sure we were covered defensively,” said BYU head coach Chris Watkins. “This is a great team … our midfield had to be strong to withstand all the pressure they put on us.”
The Earthquakes struggled to find a rhythm early, but after going down 2-0 they slowed their tempo and started controlling the ball more. This resulted in Michael Minutillo finding the goal, bringing the score to 2-1.
Going into halftime the Cougars decided to make some adjustments and to come out focusing more on defense.
“Sometimes soccer isn’t always about attack, attack, attack,” Watkins said. “Sometimes it’s about three points and winning. That is certainly what it was tonight.”
The second half turned into a stiff defensive brawl with great plays from both teams.
“As a defense we wanted to keep it compact so we wouldn’t have any balls come through,” said defender Ethan Meyer. “We wanted to keep the ball as much as possible and work together as a team.”
Both goalkeepers, BYU’s Brian Hale and San Jose’s Jesus Guzman, had incredible saves and were a big part of the scoreless second half.
“It was hard defense, and luckily we stuck it out,” Meyer said.
The Cougars are looking forward to May 24 as they have a chance to put their undefeated season on the line against the Las Vegas Mobsters.
“We are going to work on our defense, work on our offense,” Meyer said. “There were some chances we should have finished.”
The Cougars will be taking on the Mobsters at 7:30 p.m. at BYU’s South Field.
“Three more points playing against Vegas next week, and we are top of the table,” Frischknecht said. “That’s all that matters.”