BYU vs Long Beach State – 8:00 PM
Long Beach State will get a major test on Thursday night as they travel to imposing South Field in Provo to take on BYU in front of a likely packed house. It’s the beginning of BYU’s home schedule and the first of a six match homestand that sees the Cougars with plenty of opportunities to try and solidify their non-conference profile, knowing that a few wins could help them avoid last season’s unenviable fate of missing out on the NCAA Tournament. The hosts are also coming off their first loss of the season though, having fallen to rivals Utah in Salt Lake City. BYU had controlled much of the match and created many opportunities to grab a goal but endured an abject day finishing and fell to the Utes, 1-0. Such offensive struggles being repeated on Thursday could spell trouble against a Long Beach State side coming in on a roll. Three wins and six goals to open up the season have been great for the surging 49ers, but the next few weeks should bring a whole lot of challenges, with Michigan and Texas A&M to follow. But Thursday will be a challenge itself, with LBSU likely to face a large and hostile crowd in Provo and an opponent eager to get back in the win column. The Beach are coming off a great performance against Baylor and will be eager to continue their set piece excellence, having scored twice from dead ball situations against the Bears. It’s a matchup of mid-major powers and a fine way to kick off the third week of the 2012 season.