PROVO, Utah — BYU men’s soccer defeats FC Tucson, 3–2, in annual Independence Day game with the support of the season’s largest crowd.

BYU’s 1,644 crowd helped motivate the Cougars to a strong start. Freshman Tanner Whitworth scored the first goal in the 24th minute with an assist by midfielder Matt Rider. Whitworth faded toward the right of the net, sliding the ball past the FC Tucson goalie. BYU led for the entire first half at 1–0.

FC Tucson answered the BYU goal in the 65th minute. Saeed Robinson slipped a shot past BYU goalie Brian Hale to tie the score at 1–1. Robinson had a second goal in the 70th minute to make the score 1–2.

Despite Tucson’s two goals in a row, BYU didn't let down. Seconds later, BYU’s Jonathan Junca split the defense with a pass to Trevor Henderson. Henderson scored to tie the game at 2–2 against FC Tucson. The Cougars win proved to be a team effort with a goal in the 80th minute by Pedro Vasconcelos. Blake Frischnecht beat a Tucson defender for an assist to Vasconcelos. The Cougars led 3-2 in the 80th minute.

“That was a great win,” head coach Chris Watkins said. “We’re really proud we can beat a team of that caliber.”

The Cougars’ win boosts their record to 3–6–1, after a 5-0 undefeated fall preseason. The Cougars will compete in two more home games before the end of regular season play.

The BYU Cougars next home game is Saturday, July 6 at 7:30 p.m. MST against the Pali Blues. The Cougars will compete at South Field on BYU campus. The match will be streamed live on KSL and Deseret News.

Brooke Arrington is a public relations major at Brigham Young University and the Public Relations Coordinator for the BYU mens' soccer team.