Soccer players have to think in terms of angles. Sometimes it's how the ball will be moved around a defender or how a set piece will set up.
For BYU junior midfielder Garrett Gee, Saturday night's game at South Field against the visiting Las Vegas Mobsters was about taking advantage of angles -- and speed -- with deadly diagonal runs.
Gee scored the first goal for the Cougars in the sixth minute off the first diagonal attack, then set up the second BYU goal just 16 minutes later as the Cougars rolled to the 3-2 win over Las Vegas.
"Basically, as soon as we see what their backline style is, that determines the type of runs I make," Gee said. "They were playing high and tight so my job was to make runs into the gap. Then players put the ball through to me."
The first goal came quick for the Cougars as BYU senior midfielder Jonathan Junca saw Gee and launched the ball deep down the left side. Gee brought it down smoothly, then slipped it perfectly around the lunging Mobsters keeper and into the net.
"A quarterback couldn't have put that more perfectly with his arm," Gee said. "It was right to my chest. This was our first time seeing this team, so each team is learning about each other. Getting that goal put them on their heels and gave us a boost."
The junior didn't score the next goal because this time the Las Vegas keeper came out first and deflected the ball, but it landed right at the feet of senior forward Scott Heaton.
He settled the ball, then chipped it over the retreating Mobster defense and into the open net to double the BYU advantage.
"It's always nice when your extra effort pays off," Gee said. "As soon as I saw the ball go to Heaton, I yelled that the keeper was out. The net may have been open but their keeper was running back and their defense was coming in, so it still had to be perfect. I watched it soar right under the crossbar. I'm honestly more happy about that one than my goal."
The Cougars actually scored a third goal in the first half when BYU converged on the Las Vegas net and knocked it in, but the score was waived off because the Cougars were offsides.
In the second half, the Mobsters turned up the intensity and BYU started getting more sloppy.
Las Vegas finally broke through in the 71st minute when a free kick to the far post landed right at the feet of Mobster defender Victor Abelaez. He simply tapped it in, making it a 2-1 game.
Both teams had to deal with a lengthy delay midway through the second half when Abelaez came flying in, hoping for his second goal, only to be laid out on the turf after a bad collision with BYU keeper Jake Peterson.
The initial indication was a lower-leg injury but regardless of the precise injury, paramedics were called in and Abelaez was eventually taken off the field on a stretcher.
The Cougars faced tremendous pressure from the visitors for the final 16 minutes of action after the delay but a penalty kick by BYU junior midfielder Pedro Vasconcelos ended up being crucial as Las Vegas added a final tally in the last moments to again put the pressure on.
With the win, the Cougars improve to 4-0-0 in Premier Development League action and 9-0-0.
BYU next heads on the road to play FC Tucson on May 29.