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FC Tucson takes down in-state rivals

Despite being down a man and still feeling the strains of a tough match the night before, FC Tucson posted an emphatic defeat of the Arizona Sahuaros. The final score was 2-0.

FC Tucson was able to bring more players into the attack early than in Friday's match against Municipio Juarez, and this nearly paid off in Saturday's game with early shots from midfielders C. J. Kaufman and Johnny Espinoza.

The Sahuaros had their chances too, but their shots either went wide or into the waiting hands of Tucson's Michael Darrigo.

The first score came in the 28th minute with defender Malcolm Alugas hitting the back of the net off of a pass from Glen Vauss.

The Sahuaros were nearly given an even score shortly after the restart, when a confused Tucson defense nearly scored on their own goal.

Tucson went into the half-time break with a 1-0 advantage, their first lead at home.

The Sahuaros pressed much better in the second half and gave Tucson goalkeeper Darrigo and fans some anxious moments.

Tucson's fortunes looked like they would shift when the Sahuaros were awarded a free kick about 20 yards from FC Tucson's goal. Like many of Arizona's set pieces, the shot sailed wide harmlessly. But a tussle among the players in the wall when the ball was kicked resulted in yellows being issued to a Sahuaros player and Tucson's Alugas. Alugas, already riding the game on a yellow from the first half, was ejected.

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Fans got worried when it looked like the referee was ready to give forward Minh Vu a red card for arguing about the send off, but it was just that the referee hadn't yet returned the card to his pocket from when he ejected Alugas.

The Sahuaros took the opportunity given by their man-up advantage, sending eight or nine players into the attack. It resulted in few chances.

Rather than collapsing into a defensive formation, FC Tucson continued their attack. This paid off when Nick Marshall took a shot on goal that the Sahuaros goalkeeper saved but was unable to control. Tucson's Vu took advantage.

"I saw the ball slip past the keeper, so I just slid in," he said after the game.

Arizona didn't give up, but even a shot just before the whistle blew was scooped up by Darrigo.

After the game, midfielder Charles Blase compared the Sahuaros against Friday's opponent.

"(Juarez) were older and more composed. Today, we had similar aspects and playing techniques. With pressure on the ball we could actually get it back."

The win gives FC Tucson two wins and two losses in league play. If the Men's Super Soccer League kept a table, they'd have six points and a +3 goal differential.

Heavy legs

It is unusual to have soccer games scheduled two days in a row. In Major League Soccer, for example, a team would at worst have a game on a Tuesday and a Saturday, or maybe a Thursday and Sunday. Even that can put wear and tear on players, most of whom are playing a full 90 minutes, and give coaches headaches when it comes time to draw up rosters.

Even so, FC Tucson's players didn't dwell on the sore muscles.

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"I assume we all had heavy legs. I had heavy legs. We can't dwell on it," said Alugas. "We did a good job fighting through the pain."

Forward Vu said that he had sore quadriceps, but "we got a result, that's good for us."

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1 comment on this story

Jun 5, 2011, 10:18 pm
-0 +2

Go FC Tucson!!!!
Next match is June 11th vs. Yavapai who Tucson beat 8-0 away.  Get your tickets at FC Tucson or at the Shop and get Back in Black!!

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Click image to enlarge

Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.com

FC Tucson defender Malcolm Alugas (left) shoots past Sahuaros keeper Jacob Swartz for the opening goal.