RSLKickOff while Pollyanna manned the camera and I watched and took notes on the game in front of us.
BYU gave up a yellow card (Garrett Losee) very early, and absorbed a lot of pressure from the Pioneers. They seemed to do well moving the ball down the right side of the field, but it would be hard to call their possession dangerous. I was impressed with BYU's defensive hustle. Assistant Coach Brandon Gilliam was a vocal presence on the bench.
BYU's Sterling Hancock playing some good defense. BYU still doing well with possession, but too often making unforced give-aways. They seem to win more than their share of those balls back though. Losee gets a good shoot on goal off a counter but the Pioneers Keeper, Mate Aguirre, is there to make the save,
Minutes 31-45 (and stoppage):
First subs for both teams. BYU's possession seems to be mostly in their own half, with occasional probes forward. In the 43rd minute we're starting to hear some chanting from the crowd - "BYU! BYU! B! Y! Youuu!". BYU responds by looking very dangerous. First, Losee gets another nice strike which is deflected high -- too bad, he'd beaten the keeper. In the resulting corner a BYU player (didn't get his number) attempted a bicycle kick, and finally another BYU player heads the ball high. The Pioneers end the half with a fruitless goal kick.
At the half, I'd say BYU is playing well and winning the posession battle (though it's mostly toothless possession). When they've gotten forward, they haven't been as sharp as they need to be.
Pioneers get the first chance of the half, but shoot high. The resulting BYU possession comes to naught as a free kick is pushed just too far forward for a lurking striker on the left. BYU retakes possession, then gives it away with an errant pass, retakes it, and it ends with a cross being smothered by the Pioneers Keeper. More BYU possession, killed this time by a bad first touch.
BYU swarming and winning the possession battle. When they lose the ball, they seem to get it right back most of the time. Then the Pioneers get possession and move up the right side where they win a corner and score in the 70th minute. BYU is not rattled and pushes numbers up into the attack. They get some nice chances, but nothing to show for them.
BYU is keeping a lot of possession. In the 81st minute, they move a CB up into the attack and start playing a very high line. The Pioneers counter and there's a nervy moment for BYU as the ball is pinged around the box for too long before being cleared. Both sides trade attacks, with Denver nearly getting a striker through on a goal kick over the top — his shot is way off target though.
This was a good night for BYU and with better finishing, they could have scored a couple. I don't think anyone is unhappy with the tie though. I caught up with Coach Sackett and Coach Gilliam after the game, so look for some interview notes on Monday.