- Radar van locations, traffic incidents & today's gas prices
- Live weather radar
- Barber: Congress needs to get to work, stop political games4
- Gangplank opens new Downtown workspace
- J.C. Scott: Tucson City Council approves budget
Posted May 27, 2012, 8:06 am
It took until late in the match, but FC Tucson found the back of the net Saturday night and won their second home match at Kino Sports Park by a score of 1-0 over the Pali Blues.
The team started slow and a bit disorganized. Defensive miscues gave Pali a few too many looks at the ball. Early in the match, a poorly executed pass back from the usually solid Conor Spence nearly resulted in an own goal.
Pali was had good possession and threatened on several occasions. They had a bit of rust in their legs from the trip, so they were unable to fully capitalize on Tucson's mistakes.
The first half ended with neither team recording a goal.
In the second half, FC Tucson coach Rick Schantz reassigned some of his midfielders and brought in Kevin King. King's impact was felt almost immediately.
King's speed on the wings frustrated Pali's defenders and created chances for Tucson. Two on Pali's back line earned yellow cards for fouls against King; they knew no other way to stop him.
King's heroics and midfield tune-ups finally paid off in the eightieth minute when Max Alvarez delivered a ball to King, who was waiting in the box. King slipped it past the goal keeper for what turned out to be the game-winner.
The win puts Tucson at nine points, three points behind division leaders Orange County Blue Star and next week's opponent, Fresno Fuego.
Support TucsonSentinel.com & let thousands of daily readers know
your business cares about creating a HEALTHIER, MORE INFORMED Tucson
Kevin King's entry into the game created obvious results: his runs up both wings caused no end of trouble for Pali and he did, after all, score the game's only goal. Still, when talking about half-time change-ups, Schantz talked Euclidean. Pythagorean, even.
"There was a gap between the midfield and defending, so it allowed their players to get behind and have a little bit more possession," Schantz said about the first half.
"We turned our triangle around," he said. "We made Colin Anderson into our holding center mid, he was fantastic. He dominated every tackle."
Both Reid Schmitt and Dominic Papa were moved into an attacking midfield role.
"It allowed him (Papa) to hold the ball and everyone ran off of him," Schantz said. "We really looked like we were going forward after that."
King and Queen
Kevin King was forced to sit out last week's home opener against the Southern California Seahorses after receiving a red card in FC Tucson's game against Pali two weeks ago.
The team leans on its more experienced players like King, who has played professionally in his native Jamaica and in the lower divisions in the United States. Getting tossed from a semi-pro match shook his confidence.
"He was questioning his leadership skills," Schantz said of King in the days after his ejection. "He was down on himself in training."
"He was even a little homesick," Schantz said.
Schantz had one-on-ones with King over the last week, but he admits that it was more than a chat with coach that brought him back to form.
"His wife came to visit him this week. I might have to tell her to stay in Tucson."
Singing the Blues
After the match, Blues coach Federico Bianchi admitted that his team didn't start as sharp as he'd like.
"For the first twenty minutes, we were a little shaky," he said. "I think we we're still in the vans. We drove seven hours to get here."
Bianchi talked of the team finding its rhythm, which they kept until twenty minutes into the second half. But, things started to fall apart.
"The second part of the second half, we started trying to be individuals and a team," he said. "A lot of our guys tried to take it all on their own and dribble it through the midfield."
"We have to understand we're a team. We need to keep it simple," he said. "We are a much better team. We just put our head down."