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FC Tucson falls short despite second-half comeback

Women’s side still 'trying to find our best eleven'

FC Tucson opened their season with a match against LA Galaxy San Diego at Kino North Stadium on Tuesday night. The local side's second-half pressure wasn't enough to overcome a two-goal deficit and the team posted a loss, 2 - 1.

The visitors kept the ball in FC Tucson's side of the field for much of the first half. A corner kick in the 16th minute resulted in a series of shots: off the hands of Tucson goalkeeper Lainey Burdett, off the post, off the crossbar. Finally, Hannah Keogh, a defender for the University of North Carolina, slipped it by Burdett.

Ten minutes later, Summer Mason ran the ball up field well past Tucson's back line to score the second goal for the visitors.

A rejuvenated FC Tucson came out in the second half, notching two shots in the opening minutes. The team had better offensive pressure, generating chances that the team couldn't in the first half. It took a long time for the new found attacking prowess to pay off, all the way until the final moments of the match.

Tucson earned a corner kick in the 90th minute. It fell to Mariel Gutierrez, who had been giving the Galaxy backline fits through the second half, to take her chance. She sent the ball to Brianda Barriero, who knocked it past San Diego's Mackenna Carmichael.

The team takes on the other two San Diego clubs in their division this weekend. The Parceiro Ladies play on Friday and the SeaLions make a visit on Saturday. Both of those games begin at 5:30 p.m. at Kino North Stadium.

The Badge

Although there is a core of half a dozen University of Arizona players on the team, the women of FC Tucson have a lack of familiarity with each other. Being able to take the first 45 minutes to learn each other's tendencies had more to do with their second-half performance than any sort of change in tactics, said coach Amy Garelick.

"We knew with all the new faces and this being the first game that the first half was going to be a little dicey," she said. "We were still trying to find our best 11 in those first 45 minutes."

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"In the first half we were soft. We didn't know what to expect," she acknowledged.

A half-time pep talk also give the team a different attitude.

"At half time we talked about it...you're wearing your FC Tucson badge," she said. "You're playing for your community."

Mariel Gutierrez, a forward from Northern Colorado, had a lot more chances in the second half. She attributed this to a different attitude coming out of the locker room.

"In the first half, the team was a little more stagnant than in the second half," she said. "The coaches at half time said push hard, create more space, more movement, go harder for 50-50's, work hard, play for Tucson."

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FC Tucson v LA Galaxy of San Diego

Kino North Stadium

Scoring Summary

LAGSD - Hannah Keogh (16’)

LAGSD - Summer Mason (26’)

FCT - Brianda Barriero (90’)

Misconduct Summary

No cautions or ejections

Starting Line-ups:

FC Tucson: Laney Burdett - Samantha Falasco, Avadney Gerard-Osborne, McKenzie Grossman, Laura Pimienta - Haley Mazzola, Kelcey Cavarra, Kennedy Kieneker - Mariel Gutierrez, Hannah Leitner, Malia Lyken

LA Galaxy of San Diego: Mackenna Carmichael - Kelly Carrusa, Erin Sinai, Erica Stephan - Taylor Porter, Makela Thompson, Kayleigh Webb, Hannah Keogh - Mason, Riley O’Toole, Melissa Garcia