FC Tucson downs Forward Madison in hard-fought match
Elivelton scores in 3rd straight game; Tucsonenses unbeaten in 3
After FC Tucson’s win over visiting Forward Madison at Kino North Stadium on Wednesday night, coach John Galas had a simple explanation.
“We scored two goals; they scored one,” he said.
Elivelton made it look that simple three minutes into the first half. The Brazilian midfielder took a quick pass from Derrick Silva at the top of the box and one-touched it into the back of the net.
Niall Logue nearly made it 2 – 0 at the 30-minute mark when he intercepted a clearance at midfield. His shot from over 30 yards out hit the crossbar.
The match was a showcase for two possession-oriented soccer teams, but the action was mainly in each sides’s final third as the ball moved quickly through midfield. As the half wore on, there were fewer moments where FC Tucson had the ball at all and were left scrambling to resist another sustained attack from Madison.
Amal Knight was left to scramble to save the barrage of shots coming his way (he logged nine saves for the evening), so it seemed inevitable when Madison forward Paulo Jr. slipped one past him in the 40th minute.
A more aggressive FC Tucson took the field in the second half. In minute 55, Azaad Liadi found Josh Coan a few yards to the left of Madison’s goal. With the bare minimum of space, he threaded it through the defenders to bring Tucson back the lead.
Despite a desperate second-half flurry, Madison was unable to score. FC Tucson’s win puts them in fifth place and a tantalizingly close 4 points away from the top two slots. Their next game is on Saturday against Orlando City B, a team they scored 4 goals against on August 18.
Frustrations, but can we talk about Elivelton?
It was a win, but there seemed to be an eternity in the first half where no FC Tucson player seemed to be able to touch the ball.
“We were able to absorb a little bit of pressure, but they just kept coming and coming,” said coach John Galas after the match. “It wasn’t fun. We were rattled and didn’t possess the ball well. We weren’t lazy; we were rattled.”
It didn’t take a major tactical shift to change things at the half.
“I just told the guys to not be afraid to play soccer,” he said. “Do what we do well. We have 55% possession over ten games in this league because we are good at it and we got away from that. I don’t want to say we were hiding, but we just weren’t working hard enough to get into areas of the field to break that press and that rhythm.”
Galas had some particular praise for Elivelton, the Brazilian midfielder who, after a relatively quiet early part of the season, has scored in three straight matches.
“The guy is a good pro. He shows up and works hard and trains well,” he said. “Anytime you are getting midfielders scoring goals, it’s a good thing so the load isn’t always on our strikers.”
“He’s a box to box midfielder, creative. To be honest, I didn’t expect him to score two goals with his head,” he added. “He’s in the right places at the right time. He understands the game. He loves to play.”