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FC Tucson men hope to continue progress vs. struggling Northern Colorado side

Women travel to Phoenix for final match of the year

The FC Tucson men’s team has been nailed to the last rung of the USL League One table for a couple of weeks now. It would take a couple of wins to get them out of there at this point, but a victory this weekend against a very beatable Northern Colorado Hailstorm side would go a long way to ending their time at the bottom of the league.

Based in Windsor, Colo., the Hailstorm is playing its first season. So far, it hasn’t gone well. They are in second to last place in the league, only four points ahead of FC Tucson. The club did have a good run in the U.S. Open Cup with a win against Real Salt Lake in April before being taken out by fellow League One side Union Omaha.

The team’s woes are not due to a lack of good, experienced players. Irvin Parra, the team’s leading scorer, had 10 years of experience with pro clubs in the United States and Germany before signing with the Hailstorm. Players that were reliable starters for other USL clubs, like Ethan Vanacore Decker, Marky Hernandez and Danny Robles, now call Northern Colorado home. They’ve got the personnel, but something isn’t clicking right. This is a familiar sounding problem to FC Tucson coach Jon Pearlman.

“They have a bunch of really good players. The question is how they do as a collective,” he said. “How all those pieces fit together is sometimes the question. Are they consistent defensively? Not always. No one is in this league.”

The Hailstorm’s issues have a parallel in FC Tucson, where changing line-ups hurt the team’s ability to gel early in the season. FC Tucson has a lot of trouble scoring, worst at it in the league. Still, recent results have been promising: a win against Chattanooga Red Wolves and a draw against second place Greenville Triumph in the last two weeks.

“I think we are turning the corner. I think overall we are having the ball and we are a little cleaner defensively,” he said. “We just need to be efficient… make keepers make saves.”

FC Tucson will take on the Northern Colorado Hailstorm on Saturday night at Kino at 7 p.m.

Women to end season in Phoenix

FC Tucson’s women’s side closes out their season in a match with SC Del Sol in Phoenix at Reach 11 on Saturday night.

SC Del Sol has been a perennial opponent for FC Tucson since before they were even FC Tucson, back when they still played as TSA FC. The two sides have faced off every season even as the two teams were moved to different conferences within the Women’s Premier Soccer League.

There’s a lot of pride to play for. FC Tucson has gotten the better of Del Sol fairly consistently, although a last minute comeback from Del Sol back on June 19 still grates on the team.

Unlike past years, pride will be all that’s played for. That draw that should have been a win against Del Sol plus no points awarded for a canceled match have left the team out of playoff contention.

Still, the Phoenix-Tucson rivalry is big and even with a second team in Phoenix, Del Sol is the big match. The teams kick off in Phoenix at 7 p.m.

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Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.com

FC Tucson men's coach Jon Pearlman