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Late-game heroics from Crull keep FC Tucson from recording loss at home

Austrian-born defender notches his first goal at Kino

FC Tucson began Saturday night’s first home league match of the season hoping to get their first three points. They had to settle with sharing them with visitors Forward Madison FC.

Los Tucsonenses started the match with Gio Calixtro playing as a lone forward. Neither team generated much offense in the first half. League stats showed no shots on goal for either team at the break, although both goalkeepers were called into service on a couple of occasions.

In minute 54, Andrew Wheeler-Omionu, a former FC Tucson player now playing for Madison, stole the ball from the feet of FC Tucson’s Mueng Sunday at midfield. Christian Enriquez collected the loose ball and took a few steps before launching the ball past Tucson keeper Carlos Merancio.

Madison looked to settle and hold to steal three points, but a bad foul by Cyrus Rad gave the local side an opening. Rad and FC Tucson’s Daniel Bedoya went for a ball at midfield. Bedoya arrived at the ball first and Rad took him down with a bull-rush. Rad, who was already riding a first half yellow for dissent, was shown a second caution and ejected. He took out his frustration on one of the advertising sideboards on his way back to the locker room.

FC Tucson Scoring ace Deri Corfe entered the match after the hour mark. His 80th minute shot was saved, but it started an offensive sequence that earned the team a corner kick. The corner kick was cleared by the Madison defense, but it ended up with the feet of Louie Perez. Perez returned the ball into the box and right to the head of Jake Crull, who finished for Tucson’s first league goal of the season.

Corfe’s attempt to extend the lead was stymied by an offside call, and a short range shot by Luca Mastrantonio was saved. FC Tucson had to settle for the draw.

Not a loss, but players were disappointed not to earn three points at home.

“I felt like we probably could have nicked it at the end,” said Charlie Machell, the Newcastle, England native who came into the match in the second half. “It’s a fair result…we didn’t have enough shots today…we have to get in more goal scoring opportunities. We have to play like we did when they were down to ten men. Control the game and we’ll get more opportunities.”

It will be a quick turn-around for FC Tucson. The team takes on Cal United in the Open Cup on Tuesday at Kino at 7:30 p.m.

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Curtis Dutiel

Japanese forward Yuki Shibata moves upfield. Shibata previously played for NISA sides Stumptown AC and Michigan Stars.

FC Tucson vs. Forward Madison FC

Kino North Stadium

Scoring Summary
MAD - Christian Enriquez (54’)
TUC - Jake Crull (81’)

Misconduct Summary
MAD - Nazeem Bartman (caution, violent foul, 10’)
MAD - Cyrus Rad (caution, dissent, 35’)
MAD - Rad (second caution, ejection, violent foul, 63’)
TUC - Louis Perez (caution, violent foul, 67’)
TUC - Jake Crull (caution, excessive celebration, 83’)
MAD - Andrew Wheeler-Omionu (caution, violent foul, 88’)
MAD - Michael Maldonado (caution, ungentlemanly conduct, 90’+)
TUC - Deri Corfe (caution, violent foul, 90’+)

Line ups:
FC Tucson: Carlos Merancio - Tyler Allen, Tarn Weir, Luca Mastrantonio, Jake Krull - Tevin Shaw (Mueng Sunday 25’, Charlie Machell 78’), Yuki Shibata (Deri Corfe 67’), Burke Fahling (Elijah Wynder 78’), Daniel Bedoya (Daniel Bloyou 67’), Louis Perez - Giovanni Calixtro
Forward Madison FC: Phil Breno - Cyrus Rad (ejected, 63’), Eric Leonard, Mitchell Osmond - Derek Gebhard (Justin Sukow 73’), Michael Maldonado, Christian Enriquez, Andrew Wheeler-Omionu - Abdou Mbacke Thiam (Jeremiah Streng 45’), Nazeem Bartman (Matheus Cassini 45’), Audi Jepson (Cesar Murillo 74’)