FC Tucson takes on Seahorses Saturday night
Az United earns a date to play LA Galaxy in Open Cup
FC Tucson’s opponent at Kino Stadium on Saturday night will be the Southern California Seahorses. One can say that the Seahorses are a team with a mission.
No, that’s not sports writer’s cliche; they literally are missionaries.
“We use the platform of soccer to share the Gospel with both the players that come into our team, the media, our opposing team, the refs, the fans and the surrounding community,” said goalkeeper coach and former FC Tucson player Cody Suppe, speaking from a van driving in the desert near Blythe. “We use the platform we have as athletes that are looked up to. We’ve been given gifts that we want to use for God’s glory.”
“It’s no longer being a good soccer player that happens to be Christian,” he continued. “But rather being a Christian soccer player.”
“Our motto is ministry first and soccer second,” he said. “We are very serious about our soccer so it lets you know how serious we are about our ministry.”
They are serious enough about their soccer that they’ve had some success. They made the national semifinals in 2002, their second year of existence, and had two more appearances in the conference semifinals before having a bit of a dive. In 2012, they only put together three wins. Last year, their only good results were a tie with FC Tucson (FC Tucson came back in the rematch to win 5–1) and two wins against the woeful OC Blues Strikers.
The team has made a few changes. Long time coach Todd Elkins had been splitting his time between coaching the Seahorses and at Biola University. The team has now hired a full time coach, Johnny Juarez-Jackman, along with Suppe as a goalkeeper coach and another assistant. The change not only allows the staff to be more focused on training, but allows the team to be more active in recruiting players nationally.
The results have not been spectacular yet: a tie with Las Vegas Mobsters and two losses to the LA Misioneros. Still, Suppe sees a lot of good in those results.
“We played well against Las Vegas, but we kind of made some rookie mistakes and gave up a 2 – 0 lead. I think a little of that was not knowing each other,” he said. “We didn’t come prepared against Misioneros … we didn’t deal with it well and got smacked by them. [In the second game] we played a lot better and lost in the 92nd minute.”
“Two performances have been there and the results haven’t,” he said. “We are hoping to get things put together soon.”
Saturday night soccer at Kino North Stadium will be a double header. Local women’s side TSA FC will take on LA Premier at 5:30 p.m. FC Tucson’s match against the Seahorses will be at 7:30 p.m.
Odaine: #1 on Sportscenter
The bicycle kick that turned out to be the winning goal for FC Tucson in their match against BYU on Thursday went viral and was picked up by websites like Bleacher Report.
Not only that, but Odaine Sinclair's goal made Sportscenter's Top 10 feature. In fact, it made number one, beating several highlights from the College World Series.
The Galaxy will play in Peoria
Arizona United SC beat Oklahoma City Energy FC in a U.S. Open Cup match this week. It was the second win for Arizona United in the tournament, and the second where the team counted on late game heroics to get the victory.
The team’s match last week against Portland Timbers FC U23 was won with three goals in the last six minutes of the match. The OKC match was dragged into overtime after Arizona Scored a late game goal only to be answered by OKC’s Kyle Greig in the final minute. It took an overtime goal from Arizona’s Bradlee Baladez to send the team to the fourth round.
Arizona United is the first Arizona team to make the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup. They will be playing against the Los Angeles Galaxy on June 18 in Peoria. The Galaxy has a habit of not taking Open Cup matches seriously, so we could see United last into the next round.
Other Open Cup news
The Charleston Battery played Orlando City U23 to a 2–2 draw that had to be settled on penalty kicks. After an Open Cup record 14 rounds, Orlando won 12–11.
Interestingly, with the current bracket configuration, should the U23s beat the Portland Timbers and their parent club, Orlando City SC, Colorado Rapids, the two teams would meet in the fifth round.
Orlando City U23 is a PDL team, one of two in that league still standing in the tournament. The Laredo Heat posted a victory over the Ft Lauderdale Strikers to go on to the next round. One other amateur club is still in the tournament: PSA Elite, a US Amateur Soccer Association team that plays in California’s Coast Soccer League, defeated LA Galaxy II and is scheduled to take on the Seattle Sounders in the next round.