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FC Tucson soccer

Tucsonenses battle to near-comeback in El Paso

FC Tucson battled back from a 3-0 deficit late in the game Saturday, but ran out of time as they were beaten 3-2 by a Municipio Juarez team that included ex-players from the Mexican first and second divisions.

The field was in poor condition and was narrower than the team was used to, making it hard for Tucson to use their normal tactics.

"Their field seemed half the size of the one we played on in Prescott... we couldn't do our wide play," said Coach Rick Schantz after the game.

Still, Tucson was only down 1-0 at the half, but after Juarez scored two more goals, it was time for a change. The team opted for three forwards and switched from using short passes, difficult to maintain on a rough surface, to a more direct style.

Switching things up quickly paid off. Dominic Papa scored in the 70th minute on a counter-attack. This was followed a few minutes later by Henry Brauner slipping the ball to forward Fernando Gauna, who slipped it past Juarez's keeper to pull Tucson within one goal.

Although Tucson found the key to unlocking Juarez's play, an injury to Municipio's keeper and another injury to a field player caused long delays that hurt Tucson's momentum.

Papa chalked up the lack of a full comeback to the clock and other factors including inexperience and the long travel to the game.

"It knocked us off balance," he said.

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The team came out slow, Papa said. "Once we started to play our game, it was too little, too late."

Juarez will be coming to Tucson on June 3 to play at Murphy Field. Schantz thinks that not only will the full-size field help, but a full park of supporters will as well.

"We're going to need the home crowd, that's for sure," Schantz said.

Tickets for the June 3 match, their first at home, are available at the FC Tucson website, and at The Shop, 3050 N. Campbell Ave.

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