When 2 goals are not enough: FC Tucson fails to dodge last-minute draw with Richmond
Adams scores 4th as team careens to 'horrible' result
For your archetypical American sports fan, the fact that soccer games can end in ties is a sore point. "Johnny Unitas’s cleats for gosh sake," they say, "a game must end with a definite winner. If there is no winner on the field, then the only person that wins is Nikita Khrushchev, right?"
For a soccer aficionado, however, a tie can be a satisfying conclusion for a match. Even a scoreless draw can be a beautiful, hard-fought and fair result.
Then, there are matches like Saturday’s game at Kino between FC Tucson and Richmond Kickers. The night ended with both teams having scored two goals and players from both sides leaving the field grousing about the officiating.
The match started off in the best way possible for FC Tucson.
The home side’s early pressure earned them a 9th-minute corner kick. In the commotion in front of goal, Richmond defender Ivan Magalhães tangled and brought down FC Tucson’s Azaad Liadi. Referee Alan Martinez-Loyola pointed to the spot and was instantly surrounded by Kickers players who thought it was a soft call. No matter, Roberto Alarcón stepped up to take the penalty and buried it. The goal was his second of the year.
Five minutes later, a long clearance by goalkeeper Merancio found the feet of Shak Adams. Adams quickly made his way past the unready Richmond defense and shot the ball into the back of the net. It was the speedy Tennessean’s fourth goal in as many matches.
Tucson had a strong chance to extend the lead in minute 22 with a shot from Azaad Liadi on a play started again by Merancio. His long-range shot pinged off the crossbar and back into play.
That goal would have come in handy as the half wore on when Richmond was awarded a penalty kick. The penalty was easily buried by the Kickers’ scoring ace Emiliano Terzaghi.
Tucson had the chance for a penalty kick late in the half when Shak Adams was brought down in the box, but the play was controversially awarded with a goal kick for Richmond.
The momentum shifted Richmond’s way. A more confident team came out in the second half. It took a while for their work to be awarded as it wasn’t until stoppage time that the team’s midfielder, Victor Falck, scored a header off of a corner kick. The team celebrated like a World Cup win since the goal meant that they would not lose their first match since opening day in July.
FC Tucson has their second of three matches at home with a contest against North Texas SC next Saturday.
Team 'should feel horrible'
In the first 15 minutes, FC Tucson was up 2 – 0. It looked like Tucson was due to give another four-goal walloping like they did to Orlando City B three weeks ago. Despite what looked like good play at times, coach John Galas had few good words about how things turned out.
“It wasn’t an issue of momentum as much as we didn’t play very well,” he said. “We gave them too much time and space and allowed them to play too much.”
The stat sheet bore out that issue. FC Tucson has been a team that counts on owning the ball and often posts a possession percentage near 60%. Richmond is often the opposite, counting on long balls and capitalizing on mistakes. In this game, the teams were nearly dead even on possession, with Richmond having a fractional edge at 50.4%.
Still, they had a lead going in to the second half and kept it for a long time. The trouble is, they granted Richmond too many chances.
“Fuck, we gave up a goal in the 90th minute on a set piece. We talked about it all week: set pieces will kill us,” he said. “Look what happened. We need to hold them accountable. They should feel horrible about this one.”