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Del Sol steals a point from FC Tucson with 2 goals at the death

Match disappoints despite heroic penalty-kick save from Hisey

In soccer, there are many types of ties. We saw several versions of them this weekend.

For example, FC Tucson’s women had a see-saw battle with Arizona Arsenal in Mesa that ended in a 2-2 draw. The men went to Fresno and played to a disappointing goalless match against the Fuego. Given how both of those matches moved, it’s likely that players, with a little bit of perspective in the hours after the match, were happy to get a point.

Then there’s a draw like FC Tucson had on Sunday night. The team rode into the end of the match with a nice 2-0 lead against SC Del Sol on the strength of goals from Ashly Martinez and Kate Connelly. Then, in the absolute last moments, things fell apart and a frustrated FC Tucson squad had to end their match at Kino with a 2-2.

“I think the girls lost concentration,” said Martinez after the match. “We were winning, then we got distracted.”

Martinez opened the scoring for the team. Her striking partner Caitlyn Maher took a shot that was deflected by a Del Sol defender. The ball landed right at Martinez’s feet and, despite pressure from two defenders, launched a shot past the Del Sol keeper.

It looked like Del Sol would tie things up for sure at the hour mark when they were awarded a penalty kick. The kicker was unable to get it past a canny Hope Hisey, however.

Kate Connelly, a former standout with FC Tucson’s youth academy and the Salpointe Lancers, extended the lead in the 85th minute with an assist from Ellie Robinson. Piece of cake, the New Mexico Lobo said.

“I saw Kate running in. It’s textbook,” said Robinson. “I was confident in my cross to her and it paid off.”

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With only five minutes plus a bit of stoppage time, that should have been it.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.

A defensive error gave Del Sol a chance in minute 89, which ended up in the back of the net. The back line let off in stoppage time and let the visitors score again.

It was a draw that felt like a loss.

“We had some mistakes. We should have been clearing the ball and going big,” said coach Kelly Pierce after the match. “I have to give it to del Sol, they kept pressing us and creating chances and opportunities.”

The match was the first of three home matches. The team faces off with Atomic City at Kino on Friday.

Record book

This weekend’s two matches for FC Tucson were the first two this season where they had scored multiple goals. They were also the only two where the other team had scored.

Despite having to settle for one point from each game, they still maintain a spot at the top of the table with 11 points. In second is Del Sol with 7 points, who boosted their goal differential stat with a 7 - 1 win over El Paso on Saturday.

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