Coastal Bend’s Felix Jimenez puts a shot on goal during his team’s loss to Tyler, Saturday.
Coastal Bend’s Abraham Lopez, right, tries to head a ball in front of Tyler’s Brahan Gamarra during their match, Saturday. Lopez had his side’s lone goal in a 3-1 loss to the defending national champion and third-ranked Apaches.
The Coastal Bend College men’s soccer team didn’t win last week, but the Cougars did leave with a sense that they can compete for a region championship.
The Cougars (1-2-1) played to a 2-2 draw with visiting Jacksonville in their home opener on the CBC campus, then fell 3-1 to defending national champion Tyler.
“I, as well as the entire team, feel like there’s nobody in this division that we can’t go toe-to-toe with the rest of the season,” said first-year Cougar coach Brian Byrd. “We really built our confidence over the past few weeks and we’re excited about moving forward.”
Against Jacksonville, the Cougars rallied for the lead, but a late goal forged a tie.
Jacksonville scored in the fifth minute, but CBC tied it in the 45th minute when Gerson Flores found the back of the net.
In the second half, Abraham Lopez put the Cougars on top in the 60th minute on a run out after a through ball.
Jacksonville scored in the 78th minute to tie it, though.
“We gave up a goal that we shouldn’t have,” Byrd said about the finish. “We played much better than the other team.
“We need to learn how to finish games.”
Against third-ranked Tyler, the Cougars had a chance to tie it in the second half, but were denied on a penalty kick.
Martin Agredo scored two first-half goals to put the Apaches ahead, but CBC cut the margin in half when Lopez scored in the 60th minute.
The Cougars had a chance to tie it shortly thereafter, but Tyler’s Junior Santos turned away a penalty kick.
Agredo added a third goal in the 72nd minute to cap the scoring.
“The boys played really hard. It was a very physical game,” Byrd said about the Tyler match. “We missed a penalty kick that could have tied it up at 2-2 and, right after the penalty kick, they went up 3-1.
“We fought really hard the rest of the game. The boys played with a lot of pride. We’ve got to learn to beat teams like national champions if we want to get to the next level.”
Kevin J. Keller is the sports editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5223, or at sports@mySouTex.com, or follow him on Twitter, @beepicsports.