Soccer: FC Tucson's attacking offense a nightmare for foes

2013-05-18T00:00:00Z Soccer: FC Tucson's attacking offense a nightmare for foesDave Ord Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

When you pull off arguably the most thrilling win in franchise history, what do you do for an encore?

After treating its fans to a 2-1 win over in-state rival Phoenix FC on a goal in the second minute of second-half stoppage time Tuesday to win its first match ever in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, FC Tucson has little time to catch a breath.

It's back to the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League season with a match tonight against the Southern California Seahorses. First kick is set for 7:30 p.m., at Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5.

"What we're focusing on right now is the Seahorses," assistant coach Jeff Rogers said after Thursday's practice. "That's really all we care about. That's all we're talking about right now."

The return to league action - the club drew 1-1 at L.A. Misioneros FC last week to open the season - will give FC Tucson another chance to show hometown fans that reports of its increased offensive prowess don't appear to be greatly exaggerated.

Coach Rick Schantz said before the season that he expected to have a more attacking style this year.

The men in black scored twice Tuesday, but could have netted five goals if it were not for a missed penalty and two balls cleared off the line by Phoenix FC defenders.

With the trio of Ricardo Velasco, Saeed Robinson and Dakota Collins creating havoc up top and Connor Brandt roaming and ruling the midfield, Phoenix FC had its hands, and its feet, full.

Then, FC Tucson brought on winger Conner Bevans, who netted the equalizer and game-winner in the final 10 minutes.

The offense "has great pace, it's very, very fast forward," said Velasco, a Casa Grande native who played at Salpointe Catholic and Sunnyside high schools as well as with Tucson Soccer Academy before moving on to Cal State-San Bernardino. "We have Saeed, who's probably one of the fastest guys I've played with, and Dakota has good speed and battles for every single ball.

"We play with two outside midfielders who dribble in, so that tricks the defense a lot. It's hard for them to adjust. … We just have a lot of variation when we attack."

Another variable that could be added tonight is newly acquired forward David Clemens, who converted just about everything he touched in his first practice with the team Thursday. As a junior at Virginia Tech, he scored 10 goals in 22 matches last fall.

With all those threats, the thought of equaling Tuesday's thriller appears to be within the club's realm.

Stoppage time

• Prior to tonight's match, the first semifinal of the Chapman Tucson Champions League, a tournament involving four local adult leagues, will be played at 5:15 p.m.

• The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup announced this week that if FC Tucson wins its second-round match at the San Antonio Scorpions on Tuesday, it will play a third-round match at Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo on May 29 at 5:30 p.m. Tucson time.

• Tucson Soccer Academy FC, a new franchise in the Women's Premier Soccer League, will hold open tryouts today at 10 a.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. Both sessions will be at Kino Sports Complex North Fields 4 and 5. The team will open its season on the road against St. George (Utah) United on June 1. TSAFC's first home match will be June 8 against St. George at 5:15 p.m.before FC Tucson's 7:30 p.m. match against Fresno.

Today

• What: Southern California Seahorses at FC Tucson

• When: 7:30 p.m

• Where: Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5

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