Supporters of SF City FC, dubbed the Northsiders, raise a pride flag during the team’s match against the Brigham Young University Cougars at Kezar Stadium on Thursday. (Shannon Cole/Special to S.F. Examiner)

SF City FC falls to BYU

KEZAR STADIUM — Despite competing for attention with both the Warriors and the U.S. men’s national team’s match against Colombia, approximately 100 soccer fans gathered at Kezar Stadium on Thursday evening to see the Premier Development League’s San Francisco City Football Club fall 1-0 to the BYU Cougars.

Brigham Young University’s men’s soccer team is not part of the NCAA and plays instead in the PDL.

The match started slowly for City FC with sluggish offense from starters Bobby Edwards and Jordan Hughes. Early on, the Cougars began stripping the ball and dominating possession in the first half.

The Cougars capitalized on City’s struggling defense in the 18th minute when Cougars defender Ethan Meyer snuck a shot past soaring City goalkeeper Austin Harms.

City’s scoring chances improved in the second half of the match as they appeared more focused on the field. Their defenders were more communicative and focused on the field and prevented the easy giveaways that plagued their first half of play.

In the final 10 minutes of the match, City midfielders Ashley Watson and Danny Kirkland led the offensive charge and created more scoring chances in the last five minutes of regulation than in the entire first half.

But the continued struggle to tie the match wore City down, and they appeared frustrated and discouraged on the field. Tempers finally boiled over in the 87th minute when Cougars goalkeeper Brendan Ottman received a yellow card for shoving City’s Danny Kirkland and a swarm of bodies shoved and shouted at the edge of the net. City defender Christian De Luna also received a yellow card in the scrum.

Six minutes of stoppage time were added, during which City’s offense kicked it into high gear. Cheers erupted from the stands, followed by sighs of disbelief as one of Watson’s strikes deflected off the crossbar, nearly ending the match in a draw.

After the game, head coach Paddy Coyne appeared frustrated that his team wasn’t able to keep their head in the games for the entire match.

“We kind of started slow and let in a silly goal where we didn’t push for the ball enough” Coyne said. “But then we changed it around in the second half and got a lot of opportunities, but just didn’t capitalize on it.”

Looking forward to their next match against the Burlingame Dragons on June 24, Coyne hopes to see his team improve its focus.

“We have to be more alert going into games,” Coyne said. “More hungry, more switched-on. Tactically we’re creating a lot of opportunities, just need to get the ball in.”

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