FC Tucson bucked by Red Bulls in Desert Cup | Soccer
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FC Tucson bucked by Red Bulls in Desert Cup

New York Red Bulls Reserves 3 - FC Tucson 1

A surprisingly composed FC Tucson impressed the crowd Friday night as they were defeated by a Red Bulls reserve squad that included three time MLS Cup winner Chris Albright and English player John Rooney.

New York scored in the 19th minute of the teams' Desert Cup match as Albright and Austin da Luz set up former Penn State standout Corey Hertzog for a goal.

This led to Tucson's first substitution when forward Fernando Gauna was brought into the game. Tucson appears to already have its first star, if the cheers that went up when the Pima College player was put in are any indication.

Although the Red Bulls had the larger share of possession, Tucson had some good chances and kept the pressure on. Tucson's goalkeeper Vito Huggins impressed the crowd with some spectacular saves that kept them in the game.

In the 41st minute, Tucson's Jacoby Goodfellow brought down, and then had words with, New York's Rooney, brother of English great Wayne Rooney. Fans cheered wildly. They clearly liked to see that the home side wasn't intimidated by the star power of the other team.

The second half ended with two great chances by Tucson. The first was from Ryan Burke, then one from the ensuing corner kick.

Tucson made changes in the second half, including bringing on Phillipine International Yoshi. But, Hertzog was able to score on a controversial penalty kick in the 53rd minute.

Fan favorite Gauna scored off of a cut-back pass in minute 62, and it looked like Tucson would score on the restart before New York broke up the play just outside the box. Soon after, da Luz restored New York's two goal lead with a goal in minute 68.

Tucson had two chances near the end of the regulation, but a missed advantage call meant a goal from Tyler Wilson didn't count, and a strike from Gauna was called back as offside.

In an odd treat for long time MLS fans, journeyman Mike Petke, who retired at the end of last season and only suited up to fill up the roster, was substituted in for the injured Šaćir Hot in the 78th minute.

After the game, New York's Albright didn't pick one particular player as standing out. "A lot of guys had good performances, and we kept good posession in both halves."

Tucson Assistant Coach John Pearlman was disappointed in the first half penalty, but was happy overall. "We held our own. It certainly was not one sided as much as we thought it could be," he said.

Tucson's Goodfellow waxed philosophical on his tussle with New York's Rooney "It's fun, it's always fun, but it's all love. On the field, we're gonna go head to head. But after the game, we shake hands and wish each other good luck."

Overall, Goodfellow was proud of his team's performance given that they first got together last Thursday. "We've been together for maybe three training sessions... these guys have been training together for a couple of months. We can't be anything but proud."

Attendance was reported at 2,560. Organizers were expecting a sell-out for the second day's games that will include Omar Bravo, Thierry Henry and Rafael Márquez.

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Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.com

FC Tucson battled hard against the New York Red Bulls in the MLS Desert Cup.

Line ups

  • New York Red Bulls Reserves: Jimmy Maurer, Chris Albright, Stephen Keel (46' Tyler Lassiter), Carlos Mendes (46' Šaćir Hot, 78' Mike Petke), Danleigh Borman, Carl Robinson, John Rooney, Teddy Schneider, Austin Da Luz, Marcos Paullo, Corey Hertzog
  • FC Tucson: Vito Higgins, Tyler Wilson, Justin Warren, Shaun Culver, Jacoby Goodfellow (46' Yoshi), Dylan Leslie (46' Jeremy Hohn), Dom Pappa, Bryan Burke (78' Evan Toft), Tray Hasson, Dominic Yahyavi (18' Fernando Gauna), Diouf Khadin (46' Raymond Reza)

Scoring summary

  • New York Red Bulls Reserves: Hertzog (18', 53'), Da Luz (68')
  • FC Tucson: Gauna (63')

Misconduct summary

  • New York Red Bulls Reserves: None
  • FC Tucson: Caution: Hohn (51')