Soccer: FC Tucson 3, Southern Cal 1: FC Tucson awakens to corral Seahorses

2013-05-19T00:00:00Z 2013-05-20T12:10:26Z Soccer: FC Tucson 3, Southern Cal 1: FC Tucson awakens to corral SeahorsesDave Ord Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 19, 2013 12:00 am  • 

FC Tucson's hangover from Tuesday's celebration lasted about five minutes Saturday night.

After giving up a couple of early chances to the Southern California Seahorses, FC Tucson woke up and netted two first-half goals and another at the end to come away with a 3-1 victory before 747 at Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5.

"We'll take the three points," FC Tucson coach Rick Schantz said. "It wasn't as clean as we would have liked. We made a lot of technical mistakes tonight. But the sign of a really good team is that when you don't play as well as you would have liked, you still get a win. That's what championship teams do."

FC Tucson has a win and a draw in its first two United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League matches this season.

In the first five minutes Saturday night, FC Tucson seemed sluggish and almost paid for it as Southern California forward Alex Anderson's volley skidded just wide.

But the men in black, who pulled off an emotional win over Phoenix FC in the franchise's first ever Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match on Tuesday, quickly picked up the pace and created quite a few headaches for the visitors.

Those headaches turned into real pain when FC Tucson broke through thanks to the industry of midfielder Eli Galbraith-Knapp. After having the ball get away from him just outside the 18-yard box, Galbraith-Knapp fought his way around and through two tackles to win the ball back. He then spun around and charged into the box when defender Seth Arriaga bowled him over for a penalty. Ricardo Velasco converted the kick, sending it low to the left as goalkeeper Cody Suppe dove the wrong way to make it 1-0 in the 21st minute.

New acquisition David Clemens almost doubled the Seahorses' suffering and the score with a scintillating display of dribbling and shooting strength in the 41st minute. The Virginia Tech product beat two defenders and then unleashed a shot with his left foot that rattled off the crossbar.

Clemens did double the lead in the 44th minute. Although not involving the same brilliance as earlier attempt, Clemens slotted a through ball from Connor Brandt along the ground that Suppe could not reach.

"The first one I was able to get by two defenders in the box and I cut inside and had a shot on my left foot. Unfortunately, it was a bit high and hit the crossbar," Clemens said. "But I felt I could get another one so I kept plugging away. Then Connor played a great ball through, I waited for it to come on and then slipped it past the goalie."

The Seahorses, who had the better of the play for the first 25 minutes after the break, cut the lead in half when Zach Bautista netted one in the 50th minute.

When FC Tucson did have a go at goal it seemed like it left its shooting boots in the locker room at halftime.

But one boot did find the net late when Velasco was the recipient of wonderful build-up play that included passes by four different teammates. Velasco was left with most of the goal to shoot at and easily put it away in the 86th minute.

"With all the bad technical mistakes we had made throughout the game, to see that touch of class was pretty spectacular," Schantz said.

Stoppage time

• In the match held before FC Tucson's match on Saturday night, Xolos of the Menlo Soccer League defeated Alcones of the Guanajuato AZ Soccer League 2-0 in a Chapman Tucson Champions League semifinal.

• FC Tucson's next match is a second-round U.S. Open Cup match against the host San Antonio Scorpions on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., Tucson time. Following that, the club will travel to La Mirada, Calif., to take on the Seahorses on Saturday.

Up next

• What: FC Tucson at San Antonio Scorpions

• When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

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