The Nevada Wonders first thought their best chance for a victory would be two weeks ago against the Southern California Seahorses. But after a 1-1 draw with Southern California, their next best shot to get in the win column might be tonight against the BYU Cougars. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Carson High soccer field.
The Cougars, who beat Nevada 3-0 on May 2 in Provo, Utah, have lost five straight games since then and are in fourth place in the Southwest Division of the PDL's Western Conference. They lead only the Wonders (0-5-1) in the standings.
However, Nevada has gotten better in each game this season. Last weekend, it battled the first-place Fresno Fuego in the first half before allowing two goals in a 3-0 defeat.
"We had only 13 guys (in the first game vs. BYU)," said Nevada General Manager Randy Roser, who coached the Wonders in that game. "They were OK. They have a big guy up front and he was there go-to guy. He would find the weakest defender and stay with him."
That player is Matt Affleck, who leads the team with five goals. Affleck suffered a concussion last Friday in a 2-1 loss to the Southern California Seahorses. The injury kept him out of the following day's game against the Orange County Blue Star, but he should be ready for tonight's game.
The Wonders, who have only scored two goals all season, will counter with the tandem of Kirkwood Harris and Chris Blackburn. Harris, a Carson High star, will start alongside Blackburn at forward for the second consecutive game, which Roser feels has given the team a mold of consistency.
"And now we have Sean Nealis back, who wasn't there for that game (vs. BYU)," Roser said. "He really solidifies our back four (defenders). Now with Chris and Kirkwood up top working together, things are starting to come together. After last game you could really see us starting to get a rhythm out there."
The Cougars (1-5) have been outscored 20-11 this season, but have shown the ability to score goals. And despite the five-game skid, coach Chris Watkins saw improvement following last weekend's two losses in Southern California, which included a 5-4 defeat to Orange County.
"The learning continues," Watkins told www.byusoccer.com. "And we're playing fantastic opponents and it's good for us. Our guys worked their tails off this weekend to keep the games close and I'm proud of them. They're fighters."
The Wonders also play Fresno on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Carson High soccer field.
PDL Western Conference Standings
Team W L T PTS GF GA
Fresno 8 1 0 24 26 9
Orange Cty. 3 2 0 9 15 11
So Cal. 2 2 2 8 10 12
BYU 1 5 0 3 11 20
Nevada 0 5 1 1 2 25
Nevada vs. BYU, 7:30 p.m. at Carson High
Orange County vs. Utah Blitzz, 7:30 p.m.
Fresno vs. California Gold, 8 p.m.
Southern California vs. Utah, 7:30 p.m.
Fresno vs. Nevada, 2 p.m. at Carson High