Soccer notes: FC Tucson's Fox looks forward to match vs. Madison
Plus: Pearlman gets league honor; Wildcats look to build on success
Despite an undefeated September, FC Tucson will close the season on Saturday night with no possibility of rolling into the playoffs. The team ended with 31 points and, even with a win on Saturday, can only finish as high as ninth place.
Fourteen of those points were earned in an incredible month that earned them points from even Greenville and Omaha, two of the top four teams in the league. The September performance leaves one big question: where were those sorts of results earlier in the season?
“I think injuries hurt us. We had card accumulation,” said defender Kaelon Fox, who started 23 matches for the team. “When you look at our roster and returning guys, we had four to five and the rest are new. Being on the same page takes time. It shouldn’t take six to seven months like it took us…just making sure we’re all on the same page took a but more time than we wanted.”
Fox will be out of contract at season’s end and is mum about future plans and whether they include another season at Kino. Whether he stays or goes, he’s enjoyed his two years in Tucson.
“I found a love for the city,” he said. “After training, I’d grab a bite to eat or go into the community and do some appearances. The highlights for me were the food and the hiking.”
FC Tucson plays its last match of 2022 against Forward Madison on Saturday at 7 p.m. The team has declared it Fan Appreciation Night.
Word came down Thursday from the USL League One technical committee that FC Tucson coach Jon Pearlman was the Coach of the Month for September.
"It's a great honor because Coach of the Month means Team of the Month, and our team was tremendous in September," Pearlman said in a statement published on the USL League One website. "Obviously full credit to Sebastian Pineda, Mark Biagi and Vito Higgins, the entire technical staff and all the work they put in all year. And the most important piece is this team kept competing incredibly hard when they were put down and out, and fought all the way to the final three games to be still in the hunt for qualification for the playoffs. I'm incredibly proud of the group; this is a team honor, and I'm really happy to accept on behalf of the team."
After struggling with PAC-12 teams, the Arizona Wildcats had an impressive weekend. Last Thursday, they posted a win against USC, the eighth-ranked team in the country. Sunday, they dropped a narrow decision against UCLA, a strong result given that they are number one.
They were both very satisfying games for coach Becca Moros; her team played two tactically smart matches. Confirmation of how good Arizona played came from how the other coaches reacted.
“We saw both teams try to adjust to what we were doing and not be able to do so,” she said. “That was a huge confidence boost…watching the other team try to figure out what we were doing and not have a good solution for it.
The Wildcats take on Colorado at 7 p.m. Friday at Mulcahy Stadium.