FC Tucson soccer
FC Tucson downs Phoenix Monsoon
Four Tucsonenses score against spirited Monsoon squad
FC Tucson won their second game in a row as they downed the Phoenix Monsoon in a friendly soccer match Wednesday night by a score of 4-2.
A crowd of 403 fans at Kino Sports Complex watched as Tucson's Matt Linenberger scored a goal in the third minute off of a corner kick. The rest of the half went scoreless, but Tucson wasn't without chances on goal.
Phoenix's Cesar Mexia opened the scoring in the second half with a penalty kick. Tucson's Phillipe Garre put his team back on top minutes later after beating the defense and taking his shot when he was all alone with Phoenix's keeper.
The Monsoon started finding its rhythm, threatening the goal several times. Tucson's Reid Schmidt appeared to put the game away in the 61st minute when he rocketed a free kick past the keeper from just outside of the box.
Kevin King won a penalty kick for Tucson, but his shot went wide. Still, he was able to make up for it by scoring Tucson's fourth goal minutes later.
The Monsoon were undeterred by the score line. Imad id-Deen scored in minute 73, and his post-goal celebration included a demonstration for the Cactus Pricks. His goal and antics seemed to further energize his team, but they were unable to get another goal.
FC Tucson will be back to league play Saturday when Pali Blues make the trip to Kino's field No. 5. The Monsoon get another crack at FC Tucson on Tuesday at Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix.
'You can't put your head down'
In the second half, midfielder Kevin King was brought down in the box resulting in a penalty kick. King stepped up to the spot and took his shot. It was exactly the sort of shot that should have been easy for King, whose playing experience includes time with former Jamaican champions Arnett Gardens and lower division professional teams here in the United States. And the pressure was off too: FC Tucson was ahead by 3-1.
It didn't work out. Phoenix's keeper watched as the ball skittered harmlessly wide to the right of his goal.
King made the best of things and came up the field minutes later to score.
"As a professional player missing a PK, you can't put your head down," King said after the match. "The game is still on so you have to keep on fighting. I didn't lose my confidence. I just continued playing."
And speaking of comebacks...
Yes, they lost the match, but given the troubles that the Phoenix Monsoon have had, coach Rosario Lopez was pleased with his first game at the helm.
"I was very happy with what I saw," he said after the game. "This is the first time I could see the boys on the pitch and I was impressed."
"We have a different mentality and a different philosophy," he continued. "We're running some new players and I like what they did today."
The Monsoon have failed to win a single league game in their five so far, and have had coaching and staff changes. Lopez feels that he can start things anew.
"It's never too late. Every time you step on the pitch is a new game," he said. "That's what I'm trying to teach these boys: Don't dwell on the past. Look at this as another opportunity to prove yourself."
Despite the fact that Tucson plays in a different league than Phoenix, there was still plenty of elements to stoke a rivalry: a couple of calls that made fans and players unhappy, chipiness between Monsooners and Tucsonenses, and Monsoon player Imad id-Deen having a back and forth with the Cactus Pricks supporters group after his goal.
It was an atmosphere that Lopez appreciated as part of the "passion" of the game, but he had a bit of a warning for traveling Cactus Pricks and others going to Phoenix on Tuesday.
"We plan on having a big crowd at our game last week, and we plan to give them a bit of their own medicine," he said.