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FC Tucson alums await bout with old squad in Open Cup 2nd round

Bevans, Phillips play on the Goliath (of sorts) side this time

FC Tucson’s very first U.S. Open Cup match was played at Kino Field #5 on May 14, 2013, against Phoenix FC. The local team was down by one goal when Conner Bevans was subbed into the match with a bit more than 10 minutes to go. Bevans had only gotten off of the plane that morning and hadn’t had time to train with the team.

It took him a total of three minutes to score a goal. Moments later, he scored another. The two goals gave the team a win and started a run that ended in the third round of the tournament with a loss to former MLS Cup champions Houston Dynamo.

FC Tucson is not wishing for a repeat of Bevans’s heroics when they travel to face the Colorado Springs Switchbacks on Wednesday night: Bevans is playing his first season for Colorado Springs now.

“The goal in the Open Cup was an incredible experience,” Bevans said in a call from Colorado Springs. “There’s something magical about Tucson in the Open Cup.”

It isn’t a big surprise that Bevans moved on from FC Tucson. The league, after all, is called the Premier Development League. He isn’t the first player from FC Tucson to move on to Colorado Springs. Three others made the roster before him, including Saeed Robinson (who had the assist on that first goal against Phoenix) and Kareem Smith. Bevans only spent a season in Tucson before going back to finish out his time at Gonzaga University, but it started him on the road to playing in the pros.

“I enjoyed my time at FC Tucson...the way they run that club and that organization is very professional,” he said. “I enjoyed being in that environment. I got to learn a lot. It was a good step on my career.”

Defender Josh Phillips, another FC Tucson alum who is on his third year with the Switchbacks, also points to his time in Tucson as a big step for him and he continues to keep in touch.

“Jon Pearlman and (former coach) Rick Schantz helped me get my first contract,” he said. “Playing for Jon is like playing for family. He doesn’t stop being your coach.”

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Phillips said he followed the team’s Open Cup match last Wednesday, a 3-1 win over Colorado Rush on Twitter. Even though he only played one season in Tucson, he feels a bit of a tug toward the old black jersey.

“It’s going to be humbling,” he said.

On paper, the professional squad that is currently at 4th in the United Soccer League standings should beat the semi-professional team. But it’s the U.S. Open Cup. Things happen. Just ask Conner Bevans.

“I’ve been there before. FC Tucson is for sure not a team to be taken lightly,” he said. “I’ve been telling our boys, Tucson’s been there before and they aren’t afraid to do it again. You’ve got to take them as seriously as any other team.”

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May 16, 2017, 3:09 pm
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Go FC Tucson!

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Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.com

Conner Bevans celebrates after a goal against pro side Phoenix FC in the 2013 U.S. Open Cup. Bevans ended that USOC run with two goals and an assist.