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FC Tucson wins playoff match with 1-goal shutout of Kickers

Late goal from Corfe sends team to Omaha; Lapsley earns clean sheet

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FC Tucson's Deri Corfe was a constant threat throughout the match. - Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.com

It was a far cry from the six-goal contest between the two teams last week, but FC Tucson won their playoff match against Richmond Kickers on Saturday night at Kino North Stadium after a late-game strike by English forward Deri Corfe.

It was expected that Richmond would adopt their usual defensive stance, but they supplemented their usual center-back pair with a defensive midfielder that broke up much of FC Tucson’s sallies into the final third.

Despite the conservative play of Richmond, FC Tucson had chances in the first half. The closest came from Deri Corfe in the 25th minute. His shot hit the underside of the crossbar and landed just on the wrong side of the line.

On the other side of the field, FC Tucson goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley had a particularly good match. He saved two shots from Emiliano Terzaghi, Richmond’s top scorer, as the Kickers started mounting a more sustained attack at the hour mark. In total, Lapsley had five saves for the evening.

Tight defenses on both sides of the field meant it was late in the match before anyone could find an opening. That came off of an 86th minute throw-in deep in Richmond’s half of the field. The ball arrived at the feet of Corfe. After a touch or two, he took a shot that zipped past goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald.

Richmond coach Darren Sawatzky — who coached Los Tucsonenses back in 2019 —  made some quick substitutions to get back into the match, but his team was unable to mount a response in the moments left.

With the win, FC Tucson earned a trip to Nebraska next Saturday to take on Union Omaha. Omaha, as the top finisher in the league, had a first round playoff bye.

Deri Corfe da da da da da…

Richmond’s play kept many of Tucson’s most effective offensive players relatively quiet. Game winner Deri Corfe, for example, was confined to only a few looks. Because his first half strike was recorded as a pass rather than a shot, his match deciding goal was the only shot he recorded.

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After a week where FC Tucson was able to score four goals against the same team, it was frustrating.

“It’s tough sometimes as a striker,” he said. “You just have to stay locked in and just thinking when that chance comes it’s about putting it away.”

Corfe noted that Richmond’s use of a defensive midfielder made it hard to mount an offense.

“They put an extra center back in...he was just being a nuisance,” he said. “Last game they didn’t have that guy who was breaking up play.”

Saturday night’s goal was Corfe’s eighth of the year, which puts him in a tie with Shak Adams and one goal behind the team’s leading scorer, Charlie Dennis. It’s made him a favorite with one group of fans who have appropriated the infamous “Baby Shark” song and substituted the words “Deri Corfe.”

“I hear it,” he said. “It’s a quality song. I love it.”

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FC Tucson vs. Richmond Kickers

Kino North Stadium

Scoring Summary
TUC - Deri Corfe (86’)

Misconduct Summary
RIC - Jonathan Bolanos (caution, violent foul, 45’+)
TUC - Mohamed Kone (caution, violent foul, 51’)
TUC - Deri Corfe (caution, violent foul, 55’)

FC Tucson: Wallis Lapsley - Maximiliano Schenfeld, Noah Franke, Luca Mastrantonio, Kaelon Fox - Charlie Dennis, Mohamed Kone, Joao Delgado (Daniel Bedoya, 23’; Dakota Barnathan 89’) - Shak Adams (Alex Knox, 89’)​​, Deri Corfe, Kevin Rodríguez (Giovanni Calixtro, 82’)

Richmond Kickers: Akira Fitzgerald - Chris Cole, Ivan Magalhães, Nathan Aune (Victor Falck, 59’), Jalen Crisler - Esteban Calvo, Zaca Moran, Ethan Bryant (Oalex Anderson, 89’), Nil Vinyals (Luke Pavone, 88’) - Emiliano Terzaghi, Jonathan Bolanos (Matt Bolduc, 80’)