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Posted Jun 17, 2012, 6:03 am
FC Tucson began its California trip even on points with the Ventura County Fusion. Both teams were hoping for a result that would allow them to put distance on the other on Saturday night.
It didn't happen. The teams ended the match even, each scoring a goal.
FC Tucson started the match well, pressing deep into Ventura's half. Still, Ventura had chances and Brendan Roslund was called on early to make saves.
Things were chippy, and the tone of the match bit Tucson early when a tackle and subsequent tussle near the center circle earned Tucson defender Eli Galbraith-Knapp an ejection.
Ventura's Kennedy Chongo quickly took advantage of the new space in the back line, but his shot was saved by Brendan Roslund. It was one of several heroic saves from Roslund, and he enabled Tucson to escape the half hobbled but unscored on.
The zero on the scoreboard didn't hold long into the second half. A handball call in the box earned Ventura County a free kick, and midfielder Francisco Lopez easily found the back of the net.
Ventura County's Chongo escaped getting his own red card after he retaliated against Kareem Smith, who had taken him down in a hard tackle in minute 56. The referee showed Chongo a yellow card.
FC Tucson, despite being a man down, still made it into Ventura County's half. The team earned a corner kick, and Max Alvarez made the most of it. He delivered the ball to the head of Donny Toia, who scored his third goal of the season.
The game still went back and forth, with both Chongo and Lopez having strong chances saved by Tucson's Roslund.
The whistle blew with the teams level at 1-1. They still had a bit of competitive spirit left in them: the referees were forced to break up a near-brawl between the two sides.
The two teams will meet again on June 30 in Tucson and will be hoping for a more decisive result. Tucson has two games in the mean time: a match against Los Angeles Misioneros on Monday and a home match against Orange County Blue Star on the 23rd.
Travis Campbell was named the Premier Development League player of the week on Thursday for his part in Tucson's shut out streak. Then he suffered a knee injury that night in a match with the Misioneros.
They pulled him from the match, but team officials were confident that the injury was minor and he'd make the trip to California.
The injury turned out to be a torn meniscus. After consulting with Campbell's family and his coach at the University of New Mexico, coach Rick Schantz has decided to take Campbell out for the season.
This isn't the first time Campbell has had injury woes. He red shirted his 2009 season at New Mexico after a hip surgery.
Nick Marshall was pulled from the Ventura match after a knock to the head, and is questionable for the Misioneros match. With the possibility of Marshall being out and Eli Galbraith-Knapp's red card, Thomas Iwasaki and Matt Linenburger, neither of whom got minutes on Saturday, are probable starters on Monday.