Soccer notes: Another must-win game for FC Tucson
Plus: University of Arizona's Barón headed south for national team duty
FC Tucson has had a strong run of form since the beginning of last month. Their last loss came at the end of August. Goalkeeper Carlos Merancio has only let in four goals since September, a performance that has earned him a nomination for player of the month. The return of Franco Perez, albeit with limited minutes, is also a big plus for the team.
However, a dismal season up until the resurgence has left the team still mired in 10th place out of 11 teams. Math and the schedule has left the team with hope to get into the playoffs. It’s helped that some usually strong teams — Greenville Triumph SC, Union Omaha and Forward Madison — have gone a month without a win. FC Tucson’s opponent on Wednesday night, Central Valley Fuego, has been winless since September 21.
Three wins in the next three matches would give them a chance to get in, but coach Jon Pearlman admits that some other results would have to fall their way.
“The only team we can feasibly catch is Charlotte,” said Pearlman. Charlotte Independence is in sixth place and 8 points ahead of FC Tucson. “We have to win our last three and then Charlotte would have to draw one game and then lose the or lose both games.”
He’s got to keep one eye on the middle of the table results, but it’s still about how his team performs.
“Let’s see if we can win the game and keep the dream alive,” he said. “We definitely can’t be eliminated if we can win that.”
The match starts at 7 p.m. at Kino North Stadium.
You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take
Sunday’s disappointing loss by the University of Arizona Wildcats to California can be attributed to the lack of offense. To be fair, neither team lit up the place with shots on goal, but it was particularly frustrating to see the Wildcats threaten so little despite keeping the Golden Bears locked into their half of the field for much of the match.
Coach Becca Moros attributes some of this to the fact that it was a Sunday match, which traditionally feature teams that are tired from a Thursday or Friday-night contest. There are some things that she’s been working on with the team, however.
“We’ve been working on our crossing and finishing a bit more,” she said. “We’ve been counterattacking really well…those are two areas we’ve focused on more than last year. But, I think overall the final thirds on both ends were less frequently hit than possession in the middle of the field.”
Arizona defender Ángela Barón will be missing this weekend’s matches against UCLA and USC. She has been called up to the Colombian national team for friendlies against Paraguay on the 8th and 11th.