Tucsonenses cook up segueza: 3 goals vs. FC Hasental
Debutante Phillips opens up scoring
FC Tucson defeated FC Hasental 3–1 in a friendly soccer match on Wednesday night at Kino North Stadium.
Since the midweek match didn’t count in the standings, head coach Rick Schantz rested several players, among them attackers Odaine Sinclair, Tommy Ramos and Ricardo Velazco. His front line instead consisted of Vince Rookwood, a Jamaican forward who will be beginning his senior year at the University of Omaha in the fall, Christian Volesky and Martino Rapella as an attacking midfielder.
Despite a new lineup, FC Tucson kept FC Hasental pinned into its own half for much of the beginning of the match. Even so, FC Tucson’s first goal didn’t come from the run of play, but a set piece.
Josh Phillips, in his first start for the team, took a free kick from Eli Galbraith-Knapp and slammed it home in the 13th minute. The restart gave Hasental a chance for some possession, but FC Tucson keeper Billy Thompson scooped up the ball before they could set up for a good shot.
It took until the end of the first half for FC Hasental to score. The goal came from Faisal Abduljawad, who beat Thompson with a close range shot. It ended up being one of only two recorded shots for the team in the first half.
The second half started much the same as the first, with FC Tucson keeping Hasental back in their half for all except a few feints into Tucson’s side of the field.
In minute 55, Andres Acosta sent the ball to Christian Volesky. Volesky had a clear path towards the goal and charged towards it. Hasental keeper Luis Monroy dove towards Volesky’s feet to pull the ball away and instead took him down. The referee showed Monroy a red for denial of a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
After several minutes, which included discussion between the coaches, Miguel López, who played goalkeeper in the first half, was allowed back in the game and Hasental continued with 11 men.
Less than 10 minutes later, Ivan Gutierrez scored off of a corner kick to put the match out of reach for the visitors.
Both teams return to their own league schedules this weekend. FC Hasental takes on the San Diego Flash, a team that features former New England Revolution winger Ryan Guy, on Sunday. FC Tucson makes the trip to the Denver suburbs to play against Real Colorado Foxes on Saturday. RC Foxes are still looking for a win and, oddly enough, play their home matches at Shea Stadium.
Some nagging issues
It turned out to be a convincing win against a solid team, but there were still those issues that have nagged the FC Tucson in its still young season: defense and fitness.
“We still have to work on maintaining our defensive shape in the midfield,” said coach Rick Schantz. “You could see in the first half we got spread out a bit. For a lot of these guys, it was their first intense game in a while. After 25 minutes they were all gassed and sucking wind.”
“We made a few subs and you saw the level rise,” he added. “I thought the second half was much better.”
The match marked the debut for Josh Phillips. The recent graduate of Gonzaga University talked about his role in the team’s first goal of the night.
“I took the responsibility to get near post. I was lucky enough to get a great pass from Eli,” he said. “That’s all it took.”
“I was a little in shock. I didn’t know what to do,” the rarely scoring defender said. “As soon as I turned around and saw all the fans and how cool it was, the excitement took over. I hugged my teammates.”
“It’s awesome that they come out to every game. Flying the flags; beating the drums,” he said as the Cactus Pricks continued to chant in the parking lot. “I can still hear them 40 minutes after the game. It’s unbelievable. It really means a lot to the players out there. It makes a big difference.”
FC Hasental is no pushover team, by any means. The team has scored 33 goals in nine matches so far in their season. Their match this weekend was an 8–0 romp.
Head coach Eric Warner acknowledged that FC Tucson’s pressure kept Hasental from playing their kind of football. It was a lack of “patience,” in his word.
“The concept for us is controlling the terms of the game so it’s playing the way we want the game to be played,” he said. “For us, it’s possession soccer with offensive intentions.”
“For the first 20 minutes, they were just kicking the ball. That benefited FC Tucson,” he said. “We neutralized our strengths by being lacking discipline … it’s very frustrating.”
The audio of Warner’s complete comments is available at How Flair is Punished.
Proper planning helps everything
Controversy would be the wrong word, but there was about two or three minutes of discussion between officials and coaches after Hasental’s goal keeper was red-carded. Do they let the keeper that’s already played back in? Does Hasental continue with 11 players?
Schantz and Warner made the decision to allow 11 players to stay on the field so as to make it a good practice match for both teams.
“We wouldn’t get anything out of this if we were down to ten players,” Shantz said. “It doesn’t help my players get any better.”
“We learned that we should talk to the ref about it before the game as opposed to some confusion during the match,” he added with a laugh.