Friday Night, The Cougars kicked off their first PacWest game of the season against the Concordia Golden Eagles. The Cougars’ record entering the game was 2-5-1, and the Golden Eagles 1-6-1

“It feels really good, I’m not going to lie..” Captain, Grego Diep, reveals after the win. 

With September coming to a close, the PacWest starts with high energy. Both the Cougars and Eagles were winless in their past five games entering tonight, so both sides were desperate for a win. 

The game kicked off with the Cougars immediately maintaining possession, as they so often do. The cougars create chances quickly with Marco Astorga, #19, getting behind the back line with incisive diagonal runs. 

As the half continued, the Eagles created a few small chances. A free-kick 20 yards out was awarded, after a late challenge from Fritz Oestreicher, #15, which ultimately resulted in a yellow card.  The free kick came nowhere near challenging Leo Moreno, #1, in goal. 

With 19 minutes left in the first half, the cougars were awarded a penalty after a great team move. Senior, Grego Diep, #10, stepped up and smashed it into the right corner. 

Having missed a penalty earlier in the year, Diep knew his teammates trusted him, “there was no discussion on who was going to take it.. Leo and I have been practicing and I knew I could redeem myself” said Diep. 

With the closing of the first half, the only chance created was from Pedro Gomes #9, who squared it to Tim Siegfried, #11, which ended up straight at the keeper. The first half ended 1-0 Cougars. 

The cougars started where they left off, as they quickly created a great chance with Diep,  slipping in Joshua Lugo #16, who’s shot was deflected wide. Lugo was quickly involved again, squaring it to Jessie Echeverria, #22, who’s chance was thwarted by the keeper. 

Immediately after, the Eagles responded with two chances saves brilliantly by Leo Moreno, who’s been a standout player for the Cougars this year. 

As the half progressed, the Cougars were pinned back by the Golden Eagles, who’s intensity seemed to increase. The Cougars responded in the last 20 minutes by maintaining more possession and creating some more chances. Their biggest coming from Echeverria, who’s header was saved incredibly well by Golden Eagles keeper, Andre Flores, #0. 

The Cougars held off Concordia for the remainder of the game. The score ended 1-0.

Leo Moreno shined once again, finally being able to crown his performance with a clean sheet. It was also the first clean sheet by the Cougars since early on in the season to Cal State San Marcos.

 “It was great for us to keep the clean sheet, it feels good and this is for my team not just me, we worked really hard in training this week” expressed Moreno. 

This win was huge for the Cougars, as they hit the road for their next three PacWest matches. Coach Blomquist commented on the momentum shift after tonight. 

“I think a lot of momentum will be carried over to the road games. We’re a good team, we’ve just had a lot of games that haven’t gone our way, this will start us going on with some strong momentum.” 

The Cougars will head North to the Bay Area to play Dominican, followed by the Academy  of Art next week on Thursday and Saturday.