Now Reading
It's not Monsoon season, but I-10 rivalry starts Wed.

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.

Soccer notes

It's not Monsoon season, but I-10 rivalry starts Wed.

FC Tucson takes on struggling Phoenix team

  • FC Tucson will face off against the Phoenix Monsoon in the I-10 Classico on Wednesday night at Kino Sports Complex.
    jimmywayne/FlickrFC Tucson will face off against the Phoenix Monsoon in the I-10 Classico on Wednesday night at Kino Sports Complex.

FC Tucson soccer hopes to join in a tradition laid out in past years by Toros and Firebirds, Wildcats and Sun Devils, and Amigos and Sahuaros: an I-10 rivalry.

Since it's soccer, they are dubbing it "The I-10 Classico" and it starts Wednesday night when FC Tucson takes on the Phoenix Monsoon at 7 p.m. at Kino Sports Complex, 3600 S. Country Club Rd.

The game doesn't have the heft of the PAC-10 rivalry, not only because of its "newness," but also the fact that the two teams play in separate leagues. Phoenix plays in the National Premier Soccer League, where FC Tucson plays in the Premier Development League.

Still, FC Tucson Coach Rick Schantz is looking at it as a way to look at some local players they haven't had yet in league play.

"For us, these games are a chance to give some of our starters a rest while giving our talented reserves the kind of high-intensity experience that a regular training session can’t provide," Schantz said.

Schantz pointed to former Pima College and Colombia (Mo.) College standout Edgar Reyna and former Wildcats placekicker (yes, the other football) Kyle McQuown as players who will get field time tonight, but also had special praise for original FC Tucson player Jesús Ortiz.

"Jesús was even on the team last season and is the only player who has been with FC Tucson from the very beginning back in 2010. So seeing him get a chance to start and representing Tucson in this Tucson-Phoenix rivalry is great."

The second leg of the rivalry will take place Tuesday at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix.

A new look for Monsoon

The Phoenix Monsoon has had, to put the best face on it, struggles.

They have built an unenviable record in the NPSL: five losses including one forfeit. Coach Daniel Ochoa quit after two games, and many players left the squad as well.

But they have a new coach: former Sandsharks and Sahuaros player Rosario Lopez, who replaces interim coach Tyler Little.

In an interview with the website, Lopez pointed to his long time connections with Phoenix-area coaches, many of whom he played with, as an advantage in recruiting players.

"These guys have played everywhere, they are in Arizona and I know them. They will be coming in. My job will be putting the best product on the field," he said.

Danger here

One long-standing cliché in soccer is that every team promises they will play attacking soccer.

FC Tucson seemed to be geared for that in their game against the Southern California Seahorses on Saturday, but the three forward line-up was abandoned early in the match when Travis Sanchez was pulled and replaced by a midfielder.

It's been a pattern. The team has scored a single goal in all three of their league matches. It is hard to complain about, since it was enough to win two of those matches, but not quite the offensive dominance fans might look for. Still, the team feels that they are in the right spot offensively.

"I felt like we created a lot of danger. That match could have been a 5-2 or 4-1 match just as easily as it was a 1-0 match," said assistant coach Jonathan Pearlman after a morning practice session.

"Obviously as the players are more cohesive, you are going to be more effective in the final third," he said pointing out that the team is still working new players into the system.

"We'll take the clean sheets," he said.

"We're not Barça. We probably won't get to be Barça. We want to play spirited attacking soccer but it's going to take some time," he continued, alluding to storied Spanish team FC Barcelona.

"We shouldn't be playing our best football in May; we should be playing our best football in July," he said.

"Come back to me in July if we're not scoring goals then. I'll have some sort of apologetic type excuse."

Nsekera named to FIFA executive committee

The first women's soccer tournament on record was organized by munitions workers in 1917. It took until well into the 1980s for the first sanctioned international women's tournament to take place.

Tuesday, another barrier was broken when Lydia Nsekera was named as the first woman to serve as executive committee of FIFA, the governing body of world soccer. Nsekera had  been the head of the soccer association in Burundi and on the committee that organizes soccer for the International Olympic Committee.

"In Africa no one thinks that women are cut out to be leaders, especially in football," she said in an interview for FIFA's website. "So it’s been a long process for me to find acceptance."

Given FIFA president Sepp Blatter's sometimes neanderthal statements on women's soccer, it looks like that process still has a way to go.

U.S. Open Cup update

The second round of the Open Cup was played Tuesday, the winners moving on to the third round to face Major League Soccer teams.

FC Tucson's division rivals in the PDL, Fresno Fuego, suffered a double-whammy. First, they ended their unbeaten streak, which had lasted since June of 2010, after getting beaten by Orange County Blue Star this weekend. Tuesday, they suffered a 7-2 drubbing at the hands of the NASL's Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the Open Cup. The loss leaves the Ventura County Fusion as the only Southwest Division team left in the Open Cup.

The Wilmington Hammerheads got trounced 4-0 by the only remaining club from the sixth-division USASA, Cal FC. If you are wondering how these upstarts pulled it off, it might be coaching. The team is coached by former U.S. national team forward Eric Wynalda.

FC Tucson schedule

Unless otherwise noted, all times are at 7 p.m., Tucson time. (Bold indicates home games at Kino Sports Complex, at 3600 S. Country Club Rd.)

Tickets can be purchased from FC Tucson's website, Ticketforce, or by calling (877) 840-0457.

  • May 5 - Fresno Fuego 2 - FC Tucson 1
  • May 12 - Pali Blues 0 - FC Tucson 1
  • Saturday - Southern California Seahorses 0 - FC Tucson 1
  • Wednesday - Phoenix Monsoon (friendly)
  • Tuesday -Pali Blues
  • May 29 - Phoenix Monsoon (friendly)
  • June 2 - Fresno Fuego
  • June 5 - at BYU Cougars
  • June 7 - at Ogden Outlaws, 5 p.m.
  • June 14 - Los Angeles Misioneros
  • June 16 - at Ventura County Fusion
  • June 23 - Orange County Blue Star
  • June 30 - Ventura County Fusion
  • July 6 - BYU Cougars
  • July 8 - Ogden Outlaws
  • July 11 - Southern California Seahorses
  • July 14 - at Orange County Blue Star, 5 p.m

Premier Development League

Western Conference, Southwest Division Standings

Fresno Fuego1051174
Orange County Blue Star95954
Ventura County Fusion74624
FC Tucson63321
LA Misioneros FC5559-4
Pali Blues2415-4
Southern California Sea Horses12(0)1-1
BYU Cougars(0)(0)(0)(0)(0)
Ogden Outlaws(0)215-4

National Premier Soccer League

West-Southern Conference Standings

San Diego Flash13514311
Fullerton Rangers951082
Santa Clarita FC851587
FC Hasental7579-2
San Diego Boca FC551212(0)
Phoenix Monsoon(0)5321-18

U.S. Open Cup pairings

Second round results (All games played on May 22. PDL teams in bold.)

  • Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0 vs. Michigan Bucks 1
  • Harrisburg City Islanders 2 - Long Island Rough Riders 0
  • Wilmington Hammerheads 0 - Cal FC 4
  • Carolina RailHawks 6 - PSA Elite 0
  • Fort Lauderdale Strikers 7 - Fresno Fuego 2
  • Orlando City SC 7 - KC Athletics 0
  • Charleston Battery 2 - Reading United AC 1
  • Rochester Rhinos 3 - Brooklyn Italians 0
  • Jacksonville United 0 - Tampa Bay Rowdies 3
  • DS Aegean Hawks FC 0 - Richmond Kickers 4
  • Georgia Revolution 0 vs. Atlanta Silverbacks 1
  • San Antonio Scorpions 2 vs. Laredo Heat 0
  • Chicago Fire PDL 1 - Dayton Dutch Lions 2
  • Des Moines Menace 2 vs. Minnesota Stars FC 0
  • El Paso Patriots 0 - Charlotte Eagles 1
  • Los Angeles Blues 1 - Ventura County Fusion 3 (aet)

Third round pairings(All games scheduled for May 29. PDL teams in bold.)

  • Houston Dynamo vs. San Antonio Scorpions
  • Chicago Fire vs. Michigan Bucks
  • Sporting Kansas City vs. Orlando City
  • DC United vs. Richmond Kickers
  • Columbus Crew vs. winner of Dayton Dutch Lions
  • FC Dallas vs. Charlotte Eagles
  • San Jose Earthquakes vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
  • Philadelphia Union vs. Rochester Rhinos
  • New England Revolution vs. Harrisburg City Islanders
  • New York Red Bulls vs. Charleston Battery
  • CD Chivas USA vs. Ventura County Fusion
  • Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Carolina RailHawks
  • Colorado Rapids vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
  • Portland Timbers FC vs. Cal FC
  • Seattle Sounders FC vs. Altanta Silverbacks
  • Real Salt Lake vs. Des Moines Menace

Courtesy Visit the site for a complete bracket.

Filed under

sports, soccer, pro, amateur, breaking,

— 30 —

Top headlines

Best in Internet Exploder