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Posted Jul 22, 2012, 11:06 am
FC Tucson ended their first run in the Premier Development League playoffs with a loss to Sounders FC U-23 at Ventura College on Saturday night. The Sounders beat the Tucsonenses 2-1.
The Sounders pressured FC Tucson early in the first half, but Tucson's line held and they gradually managed to get some possession. Neither team's first-half chances resulted in a ball hitting a net, and the half ended scoreless.
The head of steam that FC Tucson gathered was unabated by the half-time break. At the 47-minute mark, Carlos Montes found Donny Toia, who slipped the ball past Sounders keeper Doug Herrick. The shot found the lower right corner of the goal mouth.
The lead held for eight minutes. A Sounders throw-in ended up with a waiting Darwin Jones, who found the back of the net to put his team level.
The Sounders scored their second goal when a defensive give-way forced Tucson keeper Michael D'Arrigo to leave his box. Sounders midfielder Sean Morris beat D'Arrigo to score his team's second.
Despite a flurry of offense by Tucson in the final 10 minutes, Morris's turned out to be the game-winning goal. The game ended with the Sounders ahead, and Tucson finishing an otherwise successful season with a loss.
The Sounders will have no time to celebrate. They move on to a final against the Ventura County Fusion on Sunday at 5 p.m. The winner will represent the PDL's Western Conference in the championship tournament.
'I'm not disappointed'
"We stepped up and played the full 90 minutes," said FC Tucson's Dominic Papa after the match. "We just made a couple of mistakes that led to goals."
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The mistakes that Tucson made were familiar to those that have followed the team: defensive mistakes and a lack of finishing. Schantz acknowledged the troubles in a statement after the game.
"It’s difficult when the guys play that way, make two mistakes, and we lose 2-1," Schantz said. "But that’s soccer. That’s the greatest thing about this sport. There have been games this year that we won that we didn’t deserve to win and I can only say I’m extremely proud of their effort. … I’m not disappointed."
"There’s no quit in this group," Schantz continued. "I always tell people we’ll never be an easy out and, I’ll tell you what, Seattle is in their locker room right now and they’re very, very happy right now because they beat a good team."
Papa, who put in some time with professional squad San Antonio Scorpions before coming to play for FC Tucson, is among the players who may be moving on after this season. Still, he values his experience with the team.
"I couldn't have been more proud to play with these guys," Papa said.
Long time soccer fans will tell tales of how they used to have to watch games: grainy broadcasts on Spanish-language UHF channels, syndicated tape delays of European matches shown on the local independent station and even long drives to border towns to watch a match in a bar.
Those days are over, right?
Saturday night's match was only broadcast on Ustream, an Internet video-streaming service. The Cactus Pricks fan club, not to be deterred, arranged with downtown bar Playground to show the webcast on the bar's large television sets.
Unfortunately for them, the webcast was subject to the freezing and signal losses that Internet broadcasts can suffer from.
Shortly after the half, the broadcast froze and the signal was temporarily lost. A fan quickly checked the team's Twitter feed and announced "Donny Toia scored!" Cheers went up despite no fan actually seeing the goal. When the broadcast was restored, the giant "Tucson 1" appearing on the screen gave the fans a second reason to cheer.
The troubles also meant that that fans missed both of the Sounders' goals and the ejection of FC Tucson GM and assistant coach Jonathan Pearlman late in the second half. All three events were divined from Twitter feeds rather than the broadcast.
Despite all of the problems, the gathered fans, which included FC Tucson managing partner Greg Foster, made the best of the odd viewing experience.
"In five years things will be so much better," said Foster. "We'll be telling each other, 'Remember when we had to watch FC Tucson on the web over at the Playground?'"