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Soccer

FC Tucson facing familiar foe in home opener

Teams kicks off first home stand


FC Tucson makes its home debut Friday night, and will play again on Saturday. Both games are against teams that FC Tucson has played before. Each time, the team had to come back from a three-goal deficit to end the match with a more respectable result.

Two weeks ago, los Tucsonenses traveled to El Paso to play Municipio Juarez, the opponent in Friday's home opener. They had problems that you would expect of a brand-new club as well as those of a team traveling more than 300 miles to a game. But, as midfielder Glenn Vauss explained at a practice earlier this week, there was one other.

"The field was like that," he said, pointing to a small nearby field where a team of pre-teens was practicing. The narrowness of the field, in addition to the poor conditions of the ground, made the tactics they had practiced impossible.

It was only after a tune-up in strategy in the second half that the team was able to score twice. They still lost the match, but by a not as shabby 3-2 score.

Forward Fernando Gauna thinks psychology had a bit to do with the team falling behind. The team had just thrashed an inexperienced Yavapai FC team the previous week.

"We were not expecting them to be that good… we were not mentally prepared," he said.

Juarez includes players who have experience playing professionally in Mexico's league system, but Gauna thinks that FC Tucson can have a good showing.

"We know what to expect. They are very technical on the ball, but we just need to stand them up and not give in."

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"A very competitive game on the best soccer field in Tucson."

Those are the simple sounding expectations from Greg Foster, a local attorney who is FC Tucson's managing partner. But, he points to some broader goals too. He talks of local "soccer culture": the youth teams, pick-up games that can be found at many local parks on Saturday afternoons, packed bars for U.S. and Mexican national team games, the success of the Desert Cup and plans for more such events in the future.

"We have a great soccer culture, but we need a focal point. FC Tucson can be that focal point for Tucson, Southern Arizona and even Northern Sonora."

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FC Tucson will be playing Municipio Juarez on Friday at 8 p.m. at Murphy Field, 2300 E. 15th St.; tickets are $8. Saturday's game against the Arizona Sahuaros is also at 8 p.m. at Murphy Field. Tickets can be purchased through the team's website or from the Shop, 3500 N. Campbell Ave.

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