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FC Tucson advances in U.S. Open Cup with win over La Máquina

Former Aztecs score both goals for local soccer side

FC Tucson will advance to the next round of the U.S. Open Cup after a 2 – 1 win over California club La Máquina on Wednesday night at Kino North Stadium.

It didn’t take long for the local side to grab the lead as former Pima College Aztec (now at Portland University) Jason Romero scored on a shot that went between Máquina goal keeper Luis “Chiquis” Sosa’s legs. Returning FC Tucson defender Gavino Carranza was awarded with the assist.

Los Tucsonenses followed up only a moment later with another shot. It did not connect.

It took a half-hour for the visitors to answer with a close-in shot from Alejandro Velazquez that beat Andreu Cases.

Things looked dicey 10 minutes later when it appeared that the visitors scored a second goal. After a short discussion between the referee and linesman, the goal was ruled off due to a hand ball. La Máquina midfielder Jorge Pineda was cautioned after arguing with the referee about the decision.

The second half opened with FC Tucson having a slight edge on possession. Alejandro Gonzales scored in minute 55, leaving the keeper flatfooted on the shot. Julian Gaona earned the assist.

The final half hour of the match got scrappy as FC Tucson broke up many of La Máquina’s charges into the final third. The antagonism carried deep into stoppage time when Jorge Pineda, already riding a yellow, was given a straight red for taking down an FC Tucson player during a run at goal.

FC Tucson will move on in the tournament with the team scheduled to travel to Nevada to take on USL side Las Vegas Lights on May 16. They begin league play next Wednesday at Kino Stadium against Albuqueque Sol FC.

Familiarity breeds victory

When coach Dave Cosgrove put together his team for Wednesday, he leaned heavily on local connections, particularly Pima Community College. The four players who got goals or assists for FC Tucson had all played for Cosgrove's Aztec teams. His familiarity with the PCC contingent, which also included players like defender Kyle Van Alstine and midfielder A. J. Valenzuela, was important.

“It was good because I felt I could really challenge those guys,” he said. “I know them very well and knew how they would respond to pressure from the coaching staff. I thought our second half performance was much better from those guys.”

“It’s nice to have that trust factor,” he said. “It’s a real bonus for me.”

Weight of history

The U.S. Open Cup has been around for 105 years and FC Tucson has done really well in the past in the tournament. Alejandro Gonzales sees FC Tucson’s previous performance in the tournament as a challenge.

“We know what the standard is. We want to go above and beyond the standard,” he said. “That’s the goal and we are going to achieve that.”

Other Arizona teams

In the Grand Canyon State’s other U.S. Open Cup first round match, Sporting Arizona beat FC Arizona 1 – 0 on a goal from Jon Guse, a former FC Arizona player.

Sporting Arizona has been in the Open Cup before under their former name, Arizona Sahuaros, getting to the second round in 2006 and 2010.

Sporting will face Phoenix Rising in the next round.

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Curtis Dutiel

FC Tucson's Gavino Carranza looks for a gap in the Máquina defense.

FC Tucson vs. La Máquina

U.S. Open Cup, Round 1

Kino North Stadium

Scoring Summary

  • FCT - Jason Romero (2')
  • MAQ - Alejandro Velazquez (32')
  • FCT - Alejandro Gonzalez (55')

Misconduct Summary

  • MAQ - Thales Serra (caution, 16')
  • MAQ - Jorge Pineda (caution, 42')
  • MAQ - David Paniagua (caution, 48')
  • MAQ - Pineda (ejection, 90'+)

FC Tucson: Andreu Cases - Gavino Carranza, Kyle Van Alstine, Amr Mokhtar, Ryan Scarpulla (James McGhee 78') - Miguel Salazar, Adrian Valenzuela, Alejandro Gonzales (Kevin Perez 65'), Damian German, Julian Gaona - Jason Romero

La Máquina: Luis "Chiquis" Sosa - Ray Estrada, Benjamin Mosco, Braulio Godinez, David Paniagua - Edgar Orozco, José Maldonado (Joel Palmares, 78'), Jorge Pineda, Thales Serra - Alejandro Velazquez, José "Chila" Montes Deoca