Coan's heroics end FC Tucson's season on high note
Local soccer side finishes in top half of table but out of post-season contention
FC Tucson ended its shortened 2020 season on Saturday night with a win against Orlando City B. Josh Coan came off the bench to score both of Tucson’s goals in the 2 – 0 victory.
Although the OCB side that came to Kino North Stadium was much improved since Tucson beat them 4 – 1 back on August 18, the team has wallowed near the bottom of the table for most of the season. On Thursday, Orlando City SC, the team’s MLS affiliate, announced that OCB would not be playing in USL League One next season.
Maybe that news made them fight a little harder. FC Tucson kept the ball deep in OCB’s half, but a smartly organized defense by the visitors prevented the offense from having quality chances.
Despite FC Tucson’s dominance, it took until the last moments of the half for the team to score. Coan, who came into the game after an injury to Esteban Calvo in the 22nd minute, took a pass from Charlie Dennis and slipped the ball past OCB’s keeper.
It looked like FC Tucson would double their lead in the 65th minute after Charlie Dennis caught Orlando keeper Austin Aviza off his line. Defender Owen Guske, standing on the end line, appeared to block the shot with his arm. An appeal for a penalty was unheeded, but Tucson kept possession for a spectacular series that featured a shot from Samuel Biek and two from Elivelton. All three were saved in rapid succession by a stalwart Aviza.
It fell again to substitute Coan to score the second goal, again with time short on the clock. Manuel Ferriol sent the ball to Coan from the defensive half of the field. Coan hurried up the left side with hardly a defender to block his way. Alone in the box with Aviza, his oblique shot flew past the Orlando keeper.
The two goals on the night leaves Josh Coan and Shak Adams (who came off the bench in the match as well) tied as the team’s leading scorer with four goals apiece. FC Tucson ends the COVID-shortened 2020 season in fourth place, but could slip as many other teams have two games left to play.
After the match, FC Tucson coach John Galas acknowledged that Orlando City B was better than their record would suggest.
“They are well-coached. (Wilfredo) Rivera is a phenomenal player. He’s sixteen years old, the kid’s magic,” he said. “They got good players. They’ve made it difficult for a lot of people in the league. They just haven’t got the results.”
Rivera, who scored three times for his team this season, was effectively shut out of good chances in the match. The heroics fell to FC Tucson’s Josh Coan, an Indiana native.
“Throughout the season, he’s clinical in the box when he gets good looks,” Galas said. “So the challenge this season is getting him the ball in those dangerous areas. Tonight was proof that he’s a clinical finisher.”
The team had an uneasy first half of the season, only winning two of their first eight. Galas noted that the second half of the season is one they can build on for next year.
“The biggest lesson is that we know we can score in bunches,” he said. “We know we can be dangerous. We know we can capitalize on chances.”
Even with the better second half, a series of close losses and ties kept the team out of the post season.
“Richmond, Fort Lauderdale, Greenville last week,” he said listing off recent close matches. “We win those three we are maybe in the final.”
“Those are hard lessons to learn, but I hope the boys will hear that whether they are here next year or move on,” he said. “To make it in this league and be a good pro, you’ve got to take those moments.”